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Don Nolan-Proxmire Embargoed Until: August 3, 1996

Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
(202) 358-1983

Keith Henry

Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA
(804) 864-6120

Mary Sandy

Virginia Space Grant Consortium
(804) 865-0726

Release No. 96-122

Embry-Riddle Captures First Place in NASA/FAA Design Competition

A design effort by a student team from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fl., took first place in the 1996 NASA/FAA National General Aviation Design Competition. The award was presented today in a special ceremony at the Experimental Aircraft Association's Annual Fly-In Convention and Sport Aviation Exhibition at Oshkosh, Wis.

The design competition seeks to involve students from U. S. engineering schools in the revitalization of the general aviation sector. Revitalization goals present open-ended design challenges to stimulate engineering students and provide the basis for a quality educational experience while helping students understand the economic relevance of general aviation.

The innovative Embry Riddle design is a four-passenger, twin-boom, pusher propeller aircraft called the Aquilas II. The design incorporates concepts of

crashworthiness, occupant safety and environmental awareness. New technologies are extensively incorporated with a focus on ease of manufacturing and total systems reliability. Safety features include structural elements to allow for survivable decelerative forces during impact, designs to enhance timely egress and creation of a survivable post-crash environment.

Other features, such as improved seat and passenger restraint systems, airbags and a parachute recovery system, also enhance crash survivability. The student design provides lower vehicle costs by reducing liability risk and employing newer, more cost effective manufacturing methods while minimizing maintenance costs for the owners and raising consumer interest with a safer, easier-to-fly small aircraft.

The review panel of general aviation experts from industry, government and academia was impressed with the group's solid technical approach and outstanding design package. The team included 20 students and three faculty advisors. As the first place winner, design team members will share a cash award of $3,000 while the university's Aerospace Engineering Department will receive a $5,000 cash award.

The competition is coordinated for NASA and the FAA by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. Guidelines for the third annual competition to be held during the 1996-1997 academic year will be available from the consortium in August at

(804) 865-0726 or from msandy@pen.k12.va.us.

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