Air Cadets from 126 (City of Derby) Squadron visited the JCB factory at Uttoxeter last week to take part in the Midlands Heat of the Trak Nav Challenge. Faced with stiff competition from technical colleges across the country, the cadets won their heat and now progress to the national finals at the end of July.
The team of 5 cadets was set up six months ago. Their challenge was to design and build a radio controlled 4 × 4 model vehicle to a Land Rover specification. This initiative was set up by Land Rover to encourage young people to have an interest in engineering and electronics.
During the heats, the cadet team had to manoeuvre the vehicle that they had built from scratch around a simulated Land Rover off road track. Obstacles included loose surfaces, tunnels, water, hills and slopes. The course finished with a winch challenge. As well as the overall title, they won three trophies – Best Track Performance, Best Portfolio and Best Engineered Vehicle.
In addition to the off road track challenge, the cadets were expected to do a presentation on the development of the vehicle, costings, method of manufacture and health and safety. A technical portfolio was also created and displayed as part of the team’s final entry.
Adult Sergeant Rebecca Upson was 126 Squadron’s project manager for the event. She said, “I have been extremely impressed with the engineering capabilities of the cadets. They worked really hard as a team. We were really proud that they won not only the overall heat but also three additional trophies.”
This is the second year that 126 Squadron has entered the Trak Nav Challenge. Cadet Corporal Harry Hampson said, “We are really excited about competing in the national finals. We came third last year but we hope to come first this year as we know our vehicle is technically improved and definitely capable of winning the competition.”