For Release: August 1, 1997
Headquarters, Washington, DC
Langley Research Center
Virginia Space Grant Consortium
RELEASE NO. 97-078
NASA AND FAA ANNOUNCE DESIGN COMPETITION WINNERS
Oshkosh, Wis. NASA and the FAA today announced the
winners of their 1997 National General Aviation Design Competition.
The ceremony was held at the Experimental Aircraft Association's
Annual Convention and Fly-In at Oshkosh, Wisc. NASA Administrator
Dan Goldin and FAA Acting Administrator Barry Valentine presented
The competition, which is in its third year, allows university
students to participate in a major national effort to rebuild the
U.S. general aviation sector. For the purpose of the contest,
general aviation aircraft are defined as single-pilot, fixed-wing,
single-engine, propeller-driven aircraft for 2 - 6 passengers.
Teams of undergraduate and graduate students from U.S. engineering
schools work with faculty advisors to address design challenges for
a small aircraft transportation system. The competition seeks to
raise student awareness of the value of general aviation for
business and personal use, while promoting an understanding of its
economic relevance. NASA and the FAA believe that this kind of
competition serves to stimulate breakthroughs in technology and
their application in the general aviation market.
The national goals for revitalizing the industry present
excellent, open-ended design challenges that stimulate engineering
students and provide the basis for a quality, real-world
educational experience. Teams were asked to address design
challenges in one or more of the following technical areas:
Integrated cockpit systems; propulsion; noise and emissions;
integrated design and manufacturing; aerodynamics; operating
infrastructure; and new designs such as air-cars. Students may
consider designs for an entire aircraft or for a system or
The first place award was presented to a student team from three
Kansas universities: the University of Kansas, Wichita State
University, and Kansas State University. The team's design offers a
four-passenger, kit plane "for the pilot with limited resources."
The design claims payload, range, cruise velocity, take-off and
landing field lengths, rate of climb, and handling qualities
comparable to a Cessna 172R for about half the cost, or $75,000.
The team calls its aircraft "Adagio" in honor of its potential for
graceful flight reminiscent of the adagio musical movement of a
symphony. The design uses a Zoche AeroDiesel Engine Z0 02A and
features an unusual, inverted "V" tail. The team believes that its
design can be built in about 200 hours, a fraction of the time
required for current kit planes. The short assembly time for the
Adagio is due to use of pre-assembled/pre-fabricated structures.
This approach would require a new interpretation of FAA's rule
which requires an owner to build and/or fabricate at least 50% of a
The review panel of government, industry and university experts
praised the Kansas design for its outstanding technical effort, as
well as its practicality, direct and innovative attack on cost
issues, and aesthetics. The team's focus on making ownership and
operation of a general aviation plane more affordable ties well to
national general aviation revitalization goals.
This is the second time the Kansas team has garnered the first
place award in this prestigious and highly competitive competiton.
In 1996, the team won second place. As the first place winner,
design team members will share a cash award of $3,000 while the
participating unversity departments will share a $5,000 cash award.
The team's lead faculty advisors are: Dr. Jan Roskam, Dr. Ken
Barnard, Dr. Byron Jones and Dr. Gawad Nagati.
The second place award was presented to students from the
Department of Aerospace Engineering at The Pennsylvania State
University. The Penn State team design, dubbed "The Stingray," won
praise from the review panel as a well engineered aircraft design
with realistic costing. The panel cited the team for excellent
targeting of general aviation revitalization goals. The design
features a high-performance aircraft, with a high-power,
turbocharged engine and retractable landing gear. A low-wing,
pusher configuration is used, with advanced composite materials
offering lighter weight and improved aerodynamic efficiency.
Crashworthiness, good stall characteristics, structural
simplification for ease of manufacturing, and a user-friendly,
multifunctional-display cockpit were also hallmarks of the
award-winning design. Dr. Hubert C. "Skip" Smith served as the
team's faculty advisor. As the second place winner, team members
will share a cash award of $2,000.
The third place award was presented to a student design team
from Virginia Tech. The team will share a $1,000 cash award. The
Virginia Tech design is for a sport utility aircraft named the
"VenTure." A single-engine, propeller diver, fixed-wing amphibious
aircraft, the VenTure can take off and land on water and then taxi
onto land, or land on standard runways through the use of a
hydraulic retraction landing gear system. The energy efficient and
environmentally friendly aircraft uses a powerful and light
Aero-Deisel engine with record low emission levels. The aircraft
incorporates many design elements which enhance safety and add
passenger comfort.Dr. James Marchman, Professor of Aerospace and
Ocean Engineering, served as faculty advisory to the team.
A special award for Greatest Retrofit Potential was given to
Jennifer Wilson, a Princeton University student. The award was
given because Wilson's design offered the greatest potential for
being retrofitted in currently operating general aviation aircraft.
Wilson, a senior and May graduate majoring in Mechanical and
Aerospace Engineering, received the $500 award which is sponsored
by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Air Safety
Foundation. Wilson's design presents innovative ideas for
simplication of cockpit instrumentation through the inclusion of a
head-up display as an approach to reducing pilot error. The
intuitive display drew praise from the competition's expert review
panel for its simplicity and uncluttered presentation of
information using symbols which have universal appeal, cross
language barriers and minimize the use of numerical data. Simple
and effective visuals provide critical take off and landing data,
situational awareness, engine/fuel information, altitude data and
stall warnings. Wilson's faculty advisor is Professor Enoch Durbin
of Princeton's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace
Wilson's award is unique in that it is the first in the
competition ever given to a design submission by an individual. All
previous awards in the prestigious and highly competitive
competition have gone to student teams.
The National General Aviation Design Competition is coordinated
for NASA and the FAA by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium.
Guidelines for the fourth annual competition, to be held during the
1997-1998 academic year, will be available from the Consortium in
August at 757/865-0726 or from email@example.com
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