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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. 96-124

Penn State Garners Third Place in NASA/FAA Design Competition

A student team from Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa., took third 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 that stimulate engineering students and provide the basis for a quality educational experience while helping students understand the economic relevance of general aviation.

The Penn State design is for a four-passenger, single-engine, twin-boom, H-tail design aircraft with retractable nose gear. The high-wing design features fuel tanks in the wings which allow fuel to be gravity-fed to the engines. The rear engine/propeller

combination provides improved visibility for the pilot and passengers and allows for a larger, more comfortable cabin and decreased cabin noise.

Dubbed by the students as "The Phoenix 2000," the design also features a state-of-the art avionics package, user-friendly instrument panel and safety features such as crashworthy seats, a reliable passenger restraint system and a manually retractable landing gear. Ease of manufacturing was a hallmark of this low cost, relatively high-performance aircraft design.

The 14-student team undertook the design as part of the aerospace engineering senior design class with Professor Hubert C. Smith as the faculty advisor. Consultation was also provided by Mynah Aircraft Structures Co. and several private aviation consultants.

The review panel, which was comprised of industry, government and academic general aviation experts, cited the design as an outstanding technical effort, with strong commercial viability and highly credible performance data. As the third place winner, design team members will share a cash award of $1,000.

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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