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Revolutionary Vehicles: Concepts & Systems Competition
10.23.03
High school and college students from around the world are invited to enter the competition for Revolutionary Vehicles: Concepts and Systems. The competition sponsors seek to engage the entire education community in thinking about the future of civil air transportation as they invite international schools and universities to participate in this second national event.

image of poster for revolutionary flying contest
A Competition for High School and College Students from Around the World
High School Competition

A Flying Car - What would it take?

The idea for a flying car has existed for over 60 years. In Volume I of the 1943 issue of Aviation Week, the Cessna Aircraft Company placed an ad for a 'family car of the air.' The 60s cartoon series, The Jetsons, showed whole communities based on flying vehicles. The 1980s movie Back to the Future showed actor Christopher Lloyd driving a flying car powered by a contraption called 'Mr. Fusion' and fueled by assorted bits of garbage. Other science fiction films and television shows made use of the personal air vehicle concept - from Star Trek to Star Wars - yet the 21st Century has arrived and the flying personal air vehicle is still just a fantasy.

The NASA Langley Research Center, Aerospace Vehicle Systems Technology Office (AVSTO) and the Federal Aviation Administration, National Aviation Education Program, invite high school classrooms and/or student teams to submit their ideas for a practical flying car. Students are encouraged to work with teachers to choose a subject that can be completed in 6 to 7 months. Such ideas may include one or more, but not all, of the following submitted as a paper:
  • The conceptual design of such a vehicle

  • A study of the ground systems needed to support transportation using the vehicle

  • A study of the propulsion system and fuel sources that may power the vehicle

  • Noise issues that may arise surrounding use of the vehicle

  • Emissions issues and other related environmental concerns

  • Cost analysis of vehicle manufacture and maintenance

  • Surveys of general populations to determine if a vehicle existed, who would use it - why, how, when, where, and at what cost

  • A literature review of global interest and work on personal air vehicles

  • Other ideas or problems that the students may think of on their own
The competition encourages all levels of high school students to engage in the process of submitting an entry. Inter-classroom teaming is encouraged, as is inter-school teaming. US Civil Air Patrol groups of high school age are also invited to participate. For example, a local school district may want to sponsor a team that represents the district science classes. A state junior academy of science may want to sponsor a team from among their student members. Traditional science fair competitions could be modified to use the flying car concept as a category. Winning entries from the local science fairs could be improved and submitted to the national NASA sponsored competition.

The competition officially opened September 1, 2003 and will be completed by June 1, 2004. Letters of intent from schools that wish to submit an entry are required by November 15, 2003, and entries are due to NASA Langley AVSTO by April 1, 2004.

University Level Competition

Entries should focus on advanced concepts for one of five different vehicle sectors. The five vehicle sectors are Subsonic Transports, Supersonic Aircraft, Personal Air Vehicles, Runway Independent Aircraft, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Propulsion, noise reduction, and cost should be covered as part of the vehicle concept. Any particular issues related to how these vehicles would operate in the national airspace system should be addressed as a part of the vehicle entry. Regardless of the type of vehicle concept, students should choose a focused project that can be successfully accomplished in a few weeks short of two semesters.

Inter-departmental, inter-collegiate, and inter-school partnering are encouraged. Entries are due in the spring and awards will be announced in early summer. An award-centered event, including student presentations of winning projects, will be held in conjunction with a major national aviation event, such as the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture.

2003-2004 University Division Categories:
    Propulsion
    Vehicle Sectors Personal Air Vehicle Systems and Technologies
    Runway Independent Aircraft
    Subsonic Transports
    Supersonic Aircraft
    Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems and Technologies
College level letters of intent are due by January 1, 2004, with entries due in April or May 2004. Awards will be announced in early summer.

Full details about the competition, including past winners, are available from the Aerospace Vehicle Systems Technology Office
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