Wopsie the Cat Aviation Competition

Inspired by the true story of Wopsie the Cat

Wopsie the Cat


On 2 July 1919, the first airship to travel across the Atlantic from east to west, left East Fortune in Scotland. It arrived in Long Island, New York four days later.


During the flight, the crew found a cat called Wopsie who had been smuggled on board by stowaway William Ballantyne (pictured below), one of the airship engineers who was supposed to stay behind to save weight.


Wopsie was so lucky to be a part of aviation history and didn't want her adventures to end!


Inspired by the themes of the Royal Air Force's RAF100 celebrations, Leonardo published a children's book which we told Wopsie's story through the eye's of a curious feline adventurer.


  Download our story of aviation adventure inspired by Wopsie’s tale of daring do


To coincide its publication and with our presence at many of the RAF100 events around the country, we ran a competition during the summer of 2018 – asking young engineers to imagine what Wopsie’s next aviation adventure should be and to design a ship that would take her on her journey.


Nearly three months on from the competition launch at the East Fortune airfield, and after receiving over 600 entries from across the country, Leonardo is proud to announce the winner of the national ‘Wopsie the Cat’ RAF100 Stem Competition is Hannah Amanda Donnelly, age 10, from Pirniehall Primary School in Edinburgh.


Hannah was among 20 finalists whose designs were carefully considered by a judging panel including Ms Zerrin Lovett, COO RAF100, Air Commodore Chris Jones, RAF100 Industry Coordinator, Wing Commander Russ Barnes, SO1 Youth and STEM College HQ, Royal Air Force College Cranwell; Philip Pratley, Director Trade & External Relations UK; and Adam Clarke, Head of the Leonardo Academy (Lincoln).


Her design was unanimously chosen as the UK winner of the ‘Wopsie the Cat’ Leonardo RAF100 Competition winner because of the degree of innovation she displayed, using water and light as power sources for her invention.


We would like to congratulate Hannah, our finalists and everyone who entered the competition. It was fantastic to see how the Wopsie's sense of adventure captured the imagination of so many aspiring engineers!


We hope everyone continues to be inspired to learn more about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and the achievements of all those who serve with the Royal Air Force.