Innovative students make the semi-final

Team Victrix, QEII High School

Team Victrix, QEII High School

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A team of sixth form students from Queen Elizabeth II High School have won a place in the semi-final of a global competition founded by the late Apollo astronaut Pete Conrad.

The five members of Victrix – Joel Harrop, Andy Hopkinson, Calum Johnson, Liam Cain and Liam Dawson – are busy preparing for the next stage of the Spirit of Innovation Challenge.

The annual competition is run by the Conrad Foundation in the USA and challenges teams of youngsters aged 13 to 18 to create innovative products or solutions.

It’s the fourth year running that Manx company ManSat has sponsored teams from the island’s high schools to take part.

Joel said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for us and we are delighted to have made it through to the semi-final.

‘We are continuing to research the industry and beginning to develop our idea further as well as looking for contacts within the aviation industry to help us to carry out this research.’

Teams have been invited to develop comprehensive business and technical plans of their product or innovation.

The finals will take place from April 6 to 8 at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Entered in the aviation and aeronautics category, the Victrix product is a modification of the aeroplane wheel, which, if they reach the final, will see the team build a device into the wheel which will cause it to spin before the plane lands.

The idea is it will save rubber on the tyres, meaning less tyre changes would be needed.

Advantages include cheaper maintenance costs, less fossil fuels used to produce the tyres and less carbon emissions.

Andy explained: ‘By using curved blades, the wheel will only spin in one direction. When the wheels extend, the air resistance will spin a turbine built into the wheel which will spin the wheel as it goes into land.

‘The turbine would only need to be small because of the speed of the aircraft travelling through the air.

‘This means there would not be much added drag to the aircraft.’

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