The inaugural Monaro Region Aeronautical Velocity Challenge was a huge success, with over 120 students from Kindergarten to Year 11 participating in a jam-packed day of STEM action. The forecasted rain and wind held off and we were presented with a beautiful sunny day at The Station Resort in Jindabyne.

Our Future Engineers

We kicked off the day with our youngest rocket engineers as the Kindergarten to Year 5 students descended on The Station to launch their creations that they had constructed during class. This was a great opportunity for our youngest students to express their creativity while exploring their engineering skills.

All the kids did an amazing job with their rockets and it was great to see the joy on their faces as their creations blasted off the ground and soared out into the distance.

A special mention to Abi Blyth, Henry Lidster and Alessia Diver, who launched their rocket a whopping 63 metres, which would have put them in the final of the main Primary competition. 

I’m sure we’ll see a lot more from these mini rocketeers in the near future.

Power Planes

Our Aviation students took a step back from their life-sized aircraft to battle it out in the powered plane competition which challenges teams to design, construct and fly model planes across four separate challenges:

  • Altitude (average height over 10 laps) – 40%
  • Velocity (average speed over 10 laps) – 40%
  • Combat (first to knock the other plane out) – 10%
  • Engineering Innovation – 10%

The Altitude challenge was won by Team B (Daniel Ternes-Dixon, Benjamin Wynn, Bode Townend and Isaac O’Flynn) after Team A (Nathaniel Woodcock, Cody Gould, Cruz Pongratz and Spencer Walker-Broose) misread the schedule and built a velocity plane instead.

The favour was returned in the Velocity challenge as Team B ran out of time and didn’t test their plane prior to flight, which resulted in their plane not being able to take off and get airborne.

Team B fought back in the Combat round, taking out Team A over seven rounds of combat. Not to be outdone, Team A was judged as the winner of the overall Engineering and Innovation challenge, which left us with a tie for first place.

This was a great effort from the students, who only started preparing for the competition in the past week. Both teams were determined to beat the other and it was a constant battle throughout the day, which saw the quality of the planes improve as the day went on. In their quest to succeed, both teams came up with some very creative engineering concepts such as detachable landing gear and various innovative body designs that really started to push the boundaries of plane construction.

Bottle Rockets

The bottle rocket challenge was a hotly contested affair, with nineteen teams competing across the three divisions. There were a multitude of different rocket designs and all the teams continued to refine and develop their rockets throughout the day.

The rocket teams have forty-five minutes to construct their initial rocket, which is followed by a one-hour launch testing session where students have the opportunity to test-fire their rockets. Teams are then given another thirty minutes to repair and modify their rocket before the heats commence. During each of the two heats, teams are given two launch attempts where all they can adjust is the angle of the launcher and the amount of fuel (water) they add to the rocket. At the conclusion of the heats, the top four teams with the longest launches are taken through to the finals, where all previous launches are scrapped and teams battle it out over two more rounds to determine the winner.

This rewards teams that have been able to dial-in their rocket throughout the competition and not only launch their rocket the furthest but also launch consistently.

Taking out the honours in the Primary division was the team of Blake, Billy, Harry and Max with their rocket “Sub 2 Pewty Pie”, with a best launch of 54 metres in the final. Best launch of the day went to Tilly, Ebony and Jessie with their rocket “Jet” that launched 56 metres in Heat 2.

Primary Division Results

Pos Team Distance (Finals) Distance (Best)
1st Sub 2 Pewty Pie 54m 54m
2nd JET 31m 56m
3rd Sky High 50m 22m

With one of the most creative rockets of the day, the senior team of Trent and Callum took out the Senior division with their rocket/plane/duck “Ze Duck”, flying 44 metres in the final, complete with flapping duck legs. They also had the longest launch of the day, with 46 metres in Heat 2.

Junior Division Results

Pos Team Distance (Finals) Distance (Best)
1st Frost Wings 78m 82m
2nd Chicken Nuggets 70m 93m
3rd Snowy Elks 2.0 63m 62m

With one of the most creative rockets of the day, the senior team of Trent and Callum took out the Senior division with their rocket/plane/duck “Ze Duck”, flying 44 metres in the final, complete with flapping duck legs. They also had the longest launch of the day, with 46 metres in Heat 2.

Senior Division Results

Pos Team Distance (Finals) Distance (Best)
1st Ze Duck 46m 44m
2nd Rasta Rocket 32m 36m

It truly was an amazing day for everyone and it was great to see so many parents coming out to support the teams, assist with running the day and supply staff with fresh coffee! A big shout-out to The Station Resort for hosting the event and providing us with wonderful facilities.

2020 will be even bigger and we look forward to more schools in the Monaro region joining the event and showing the country that we have some of the best young STEMgineers in the country!

Event Photos

Craig Willsmer from 5Willows was on hand to capture all the action from the day. All event photos are available in the Monaro Region Aeronautical Velocity Challenge Photo Gallery.

Want to find our more?

If you would like to find out more about the competition or how you can help to get your school involved, please contact Mr Craig Moore on (02) 6457 1022 or