Aiming for awesome: remotely piloted aircraft systems


Funded by the Chancellor using LIBOR funds

RAF 100: Aiming for Awesome celebrates the centenary of the RAF and explores its engineering achievements over the last 100 years. There are 10 resources, each covering a different decade of RAF history. Each resource allows Key Stage 2 and 3 pupils to explore, through hands on activities, the applications of the knowledge they learn in science, design and technology, mathematics and computing.

1998 - 2008 Remotely piloted air systems

The aim of this resource is to give students the opportunity to investigate the impact of STEM on the design, production and control of a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System.

Unmanned vehicles are becoming increasingly common, with wireless pods at Heathrow Airport that transport passengers between terminals and self-driving cars due to hit roads by 2020.  

The resource gives students the opportunity to think about the pros and cons of self-driving cars and then undertake a number of practical activities around remotely piloted aircraft systems, such as writing and testing flight plans.

Student activities


Time to think: in pairs, students should discuss whether self-driving cars are a good or bad idea and come up with three positives and three negatives.

Time to investigate: using support sheets 1 and 3, students should write a flight plan to get a remotely piloted aircraft system from one landing strip to another without being detected.

Stretch and challenge: using support sheet 2, students should write another flight plane to deliver aid to a village and return to base. Then in pairs they should test each others flight plans then compare to find the most efficient plan.


The activities are expected to last 60 minutes.

What you'll need

The following items per student:

Student guide

The student guide for this resourec can be downloaded here: Remotely piloted air systems - student guide.

Supported by

  • Royal Academy of Engineering
  • RAF 100
  • 2018 YoE