For Release: August 1, 1997
Headquarters, Washington, DC
Langley Research Center
Virginia Space Grant Consortium
RELEASE NO. 97-081
VIRGINIA TECH TEAM IS WINNER
IN NASA/FAA GENERAL AVIATION DESIGN COMPETITION
Students from the Virginia Tech College of Engineering took
third place in the NASA/FAA General Aviation Design Competition.
The award was presented today in a special ceremony at the
Experimental Aircraft Association's Annual Convention and Fly-In at
Oshkosh, Wisconsin. NASA Administrator Dan Goldin and FAA Acting
Administrator Barry L. Valentine presented the awards.
The national competition seeks to involve university student
teams 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.
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 subsystem.
The competition, 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 Virginia Tech student team designed a sport utility aircraft
named the VenTure. A single engine, propeller diver, fixed-wing
amphibious aircraft, the VenTure could 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 design uses a
powerful and light Zoche Aero-Deisel engine with record low
emission levels. The aircraft design incorporates many elements
which enhance safety and add passenger comfort. Dr. James Marchman,
Professor of Aerospace Engineering, served as faculty advisory to
the team. The students will share a $1,000 cash award.
The review panel of government, industry and university experts
gave high marks to the versatility of the aircraft design and the
marketing approach taken by the students in addressing the
excitement and recreational aspects of aviation. The design
reflected sound engineering and excellent technical work with a
The 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
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text-only version of this release