Air Cadets from 126 (City of Derby) Squadron visited the Land Rover factory at Gaydon last week to take part in the Trak Nav Challenge. Faced with stiff competition from technical colleges across the country, the cadets came third overall and won trophies for Best Electronics and Best Winch.
The team of 5 cadets was set up six months ago. Their challenge was to design and build a radio controlled 4 × 4 model 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. Following months of hard work, the team sailed through the regional heats in June to compete against 10 teams from around the UK in the final.
During the final, 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.
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 Dave Smith was 126 Squadron’s technical advisor for the event. He said, “I have been extremely impressed with the engineering capabilities of the cadets. They worked really hard as a team and can be proud to have come third against technical schools and colleges who have received a lot more training.”
This is the first year that 126 Squadron has entered the Trak Nav Challenge. The interest that the competition has generated amongst the cadets means that the team will be formed again next year. Cadet Corporal Ross Keeling said, “We now know what is expected of us and our radio controlled vehicle. Next year we will be coming back to win.”