For release: July 29, 1995
NASA Langley Research Center
Virginia Space Grant Consortium
RELEASE NO. 95-069
NASA and the FAA have selected a team from three Kansas universities as joint winners of their first National General Aviation Design Competition for U.S. aeronautical and engineering universities. The joint team was made up of students and faculty from the University of Kansas, Lawrence; Kansas State University, Manhattan; and Wichita State University, Wichita.
The contest challenged teams of undergraduate and/or graduate students, working with faculty advisors, to address design challenges for general aviation aircraft and related transportation systems. The competition was held during the 1994-95 academic year.
For taking first place, the participating academic departments of the joint Kansas team shared a $5,000 award and the student design team members shared a $3,000 award. Their "Shrike" aircraft concept was conceived to introduce advanced operator-friendly technologies that promise to make general aviation flying easier than driving a car. The new series of aircraft would feature advanced flight control systems and a heavily automated, simplified cockpit display and pilot interface system.
Second place and a $2,000 award went to the design team from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla. Their Aquilas design concept suggested several innovative features to enhance safety and efficiency of general aviation aircraft. Features would include improved structural crashworthiness and a deployable parachute.
Third place and a $1,000 award went to Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Miss., for conducting a study of advanced cockpit and propulsion system concepts that would feature the latest in pilot displays and early warning emergency systems. These systems were designed to replace the older, less efficient systems commonly found in general aviation aircraft today.
An honorable mention went to the UPM Design Group, made up of members from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, Va., the Pratt Institute at Brooklyn, N.Y., and the Mallen Research Corporation of Charlottesville, Va. The team was honored for its futuristic state-of-the-art aircraft design, which includes an "ergonomically" designed cabin interior providing passengers with access to the latest in onboard computer communication systems.
The design competition was created because NASA and the FAA want to increase the involvement of the academic community in the revitalization of the U.S. general aviation industry while providing real-world design and development opportunities for students.
The competition is now an annual event. It allows university students to participate in a national effort to develop technologies for an aircraft transportation system for smaller aircraft. It is intended to help raise student awareness of the economic relevance of general aviation and its value for business and personal use.
Design packages are reviewed by a panel of industry and government experts who provide feedback to the student teams.
Design packages for the 1995/96 NASA/FAA General Aviation Design Competition are due by May 6, 1996. Winners will be presented with their awards at the annual Experimental Aircraft Association Fly-In Convention and Sport Aviation Exhibition in Oshkosh, Wisc.
The competition is being coordinated by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, a nonprofit aerospace educational coalition, in Hampton, Va. Copies of competition guidelines can be obtained from the Consortium by phone at 804/865-0726 or fax at 804/865-7965.
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