Burnley-born 16-year-old enjoys behind-the-scenes BAE Systems tour

A young Burnley-born student who designed a trophy that will be presented to some of the world's leading engineers has been given a behind the scenes tour of BAE Systems' advanced manufacturing site where the trophy will be made.

Wednesday, 22nd November 2017, 10:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 2:00 am
Sam Bentley (left) with with John Sowerbutts, Production Supervisor.
Sam Bentley (left) with with John Sowerbutts, Production Supervisor.

Samuel Bentley (16), who lives in Wales, visited the New Product and Process Development Centre (NPPDC) at BAE Systems in Samlesbury, Lancashire, where the company is pioneering world-leading technology to revolutionise manufacturing of military aircraft.

During his tour, Sam was shown the advanced 3D printing technology which, as well as manufacturing some aircraft components, will produce his trophy design which will be awarded to the winners of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

He was also given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ‘fly’ a Typhoon jet, under the guidance of a BAE Systems test pilot, in a simulator used to develop the combat aircraft and he visited the factory where the aircraft are assembled. The visit concluded with a tour of BAE Systems’ Academy for Skills & Knowledge, a £15.6m facility opened to train the company’s next generation of engineers and business leaders, at its Samlesbury site.

“It was really cool to practice flying an aircraft just like the pilots," Sam said. "I really enjoyed the visit and I was excited to see how the engineers are going to make my trophy design in real life.”

John Dunstan, Head of the NPPDC at BAE Systems, said: “Sam’s complex design challenged our engineers who use additive manufacturing and virtual reality technology to develop the design and manufacture of military aircraft. The 3D printing technologies we have used to create Sam’s trophy design are revolutionising the way we work.

"Producing the trophy has definitely challenged our team’s best use of the processes,” John added.

Sam won this year’s ‘Create the Trophy’ contest, which invited aspiring designers aged 14 to 24 from around the world to design a trophy using a brand new smartphone and tablet app that captures the spirit of modern engineering.

Sam’s trophy design was inspired by the highest mountain in Wales - Snowdon - and will be presented at a special ceremony for the winners of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, later this year.