Morson we were honoured to visit a very special piece of engineering last week. The Bloodhound project was borne out of human-kind’s relentless obsession with speed, with the rocket powered car aiming to break the land speed record by reaching 1000 mph.
However, our tour of the car revealed how the Bloodhound project is so much more than an obsession with breaking records. Through engagement with schools and colleges, it aims to leave a lasting legacy by actively opening our children’s eye’s to the possibilities of STEM subjects. We spoke to Tony Parraman, sponsor liaison on the Bloodhound project, about how the car is inspiring a new generation of young engineers.
Everybody needs an Apollo moment. Somebody telling you that engineering is a great career isn’t enough, you need to see what engineering can do.
I’ve been working on the Bloodhound project for the last 9 ½ years. I got to work on the project because I taught a young chap called Alex Piper when he was 11 years old, Alex’s dad became the design engineer for Dieselmax and then went onto become the chief design engineer for the Bloodhound. I kept in touch with both of them over the years and John Piper asked me if I would like to work on Bloodhound. I was fitting bathrooms and kitchens at the time so I thought, why not work on a land speed record project!
The project itself has two aims, one to go 1000 mph and the other to inspire young children into science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Over the lifetime of the project we estimate we’ve presented to over 1 million children.
I’m old enough to remember Apollo when it first landed on the moon. I was around when Concorde first flew. Those were the sorts of projects that got me into engineering. We know that we’re having an effect on people’s choices when it comes to choosing their A-Levels and degrees. I’m now meeting people who said they are in engineering because of Bloodhound, which is great.
Speaking with the engineers currently involved, we saw how the Bloodhound project has been undeniably successful in attracting children into STEM subjects. It has captured the imagination of a young generation in a way that only a dare-devil, white-knuckle sprint into the unknown can. From building go-karts to runway testing educational days, the positive impact of the research and development is tangible and critical in a world where skills gaps are growing.
The Bloodhound might only take 42 seconds to reach its target speed, but it’s influence will last beyond 42 years.