BEIJING/China: "This has been one of our biggest projects in recent years, and I am very happy that we can open it today.
So says proud founder Per-Arild Konradsen, from FIRST Scandinavia (FS). Together with project manager Ole Morten Mortensen, today he proudly attended the opening of the Newton Flight Academy in China.
The room was built in collaboration with Boeing and Tsinghua University High School (THUHS), one of China's most prestigious schools with 33,000 students. The grand opening ceremony for the academy was held today and was attended by guests from the General Administration of Sport of China, Beijing Municipal and Haidian District Education Commission, as well as Beijing and Haidian Association for Science and Technology.
“Newton is a truly international concept. Today, it is a great honour for me to welcome Tsinghua University High School – and with it, China – into the global Newton network. We look forward to further developing the partnerships in the months and years to come", Per-Arild said during today's opening ceremony.
"Boeing is proud to bring our global project to China and partner with THUHS to inspire young people with a passion for aviation. The Newton Flight Academy is a significant expansion to our China commitment, and we believe the innovative academy will encourage young people to explore more possibilities and pursue careers in the aviation field," said Sherry Carbary, President of Boeing China.
"With the spirit and culture of Self-Discipline and Social Commitment, we strive for better education. Newton's immersive, hands-on educational environment is exactly the tools that the innovators of tomorrow need to spark their curiosity," said Yan Fang, Principal of THUHS.
China joins the global Newton Network
A Newton Flight Academy is a bespoke Newton Room that focuses on aerospace. Here students are taught mathematics, navigation, and other STEM concepts, using custom-built classrooms with high-tech equipment such as full-motion flight simulators. The space brings the inspiration of aerospace to life for students in a truly global way; the NFA in China is the third of its kind in the world, adding to its counterparts in Bodø, Norway, and Glasgow, Scotland.
FIRST MEETING. The establishment of the room in China started after Stian (left) and Per-Arild's first visit to the country in 2018.
“In our efforts to consolidate a teaching concept globally, we are thrilled to open the first Newton Room in China. We believe in learning across borders, and we are confident that what students and teachers encounter here will be both new and educational while at the same time empowering and building self-confidence for the students. Conversely, there are certain things we can also learn from the school system in China and the expertise they have in many areas. So this is just the first step in a long process, and we are happy for the excellent cooperation with the university, Boeing, and other organizations that make this possible for us,” says managing director in FIRST Scandinavia, Stian Elstad.
SATISFIED PROJECT MANAGER. Ole Morten Mortensen has been the project manager for the establishment of the physical space in China
A few challenges
Ole Morten Mortensen is the project manager for the NFA, and with Per-Arild, he has been to China several times over the past 4 years.
“In the summer of 2019, we started renovating and furnishing the premises on the fourth floor of the building. There were some challenges – among other things, large windows had to be taken out so we could get the flight simulators into the building. We worked hard to solve the procurement of furniture, screens, lighting, sound, and, not least, the shipment of simulators from Spain. Then came 2020 and COVID-19," Ole Morten laughs.
"The NFA was almost finished, and suddenly there was a total lockdown. We couldn't travel for two years, so you can imagine how excited we are to be able to open today," says Ole.
Several days of teaching
The classroom itself is about 200 square metres, with an additional 100 square metres of storage, office, and wardrobe space. Six flight simulators from Virtual Fly are installed in the room, three of which are full-motion.
TEACHING. In the Newton module "Up in the air with numbers", students will plan the flight themselves using mathematical calculations, also flying the route afterwards using a flight simulator. This module is only offered in Flight Academies.
Classes will be held in the room at least four days a week. The Newton Module "Up in the Air with Numbers" will be on offer, and the team plans to implement a Newton Module addressing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in the future. In addition to the traditional amphitheatre and workstation area, there is a fully-equipped laboratory in the room. This allows for all of the Newton Modules to be run in the room.
FIRST Scandinavia, Boeing, and from the university were at Tuesday's inaugural event. After a ceremonial ribbon cutting, the excited visitors were given a tour of the room. A large number of media were present, and interest in Newton's teaching concept was high.
“This would not have been possible without President Yan Fang's support and the university's highly professional team, Boeing, and our education partner YouChange. We wish you all the best of luck with the space in China. It has been an intense but wonderfully fun process," Per-Arild concludes.
Founder of FIRST Scandinavia, Per-Arild Konradsen.
Glimpses from the day
PROUD PARTNERS. Sherry Carbary, President of Boeing China (right), Per-Arild Konradsen, and Yan Fang, Principal of THUHS, at the opening on Tuesday.