Mikayla Ziegenweidt from Fakenham and Scott Gilbert of Old Costessy won the thrilling experience after entering a competition run by the UTC, which is set to open in September.
The students’ prize included both educational and practical elements that combined to form an unforgettable experience.
The pair spent the first half of the morning learning about aircraft mechanics before being strapped into the Pitts S2 planes to experience the thrills of close formation flying and synchronized opposition work in an adrenaline-filled flight.
Scott, who is 13 years old, said he was little nervous about the flight but once he was up in the sky he thoroughly enjoyed himself: “My favourite parts were the spins and going upside down. When we landed I felt so happy that I’d done it”. His mum, Nichola added, “He was grinning like a Cheshire cat”.
Mikayla, who is also 13 years old, also enjoyed the experience. She said: “I felt dizzy afterwards but it was a big adrenaline rush”.
The flight, which saw the pair looping and rolling above the Norfolk countryside, including a fly over the Lotus headquarters, was made possible by the UTC’s link with Wildcat Aerobatics, who are passionate about education and engineering. The Wildcats have a long and successful relationship with City College Norwich and have supported UTC Norfolk since its inception.
One of the distinctive aspects of the UTC is the extensive links it has with local employers. Firms including Lotus, Future Marine Services and Gardline will support the UTC’s curriculum by setting various technical challenges, enabling students to apply the skills they have learned in the classroom to real-world engineering problems.
They will also provide work experience placements, as an authentic bridge between education and employment.
Wildcat Aerobatics pilots, Al Coutts and Willie Cruickshank said they were keen to support the young people of Norfolk with their ambitions in engineering.
Al Coutts said: “As engineers we know the hard-work and joy that an engineering career can bring. For us, it’s about showing students that if they work hard, anything is possible.”
UTC Norfolk Principal Alex Hayes said the event epitomised the philosophy of the school:
“The role and purpose of the UTC is to work with employers to provide opportunities for students which they otherwise might not get. I am delighted that two of our new students were able to have the opportunity to do something truly amazing”.