For Release: August 1, 1997
Headquarters, Washington, DC
Langley Research Center
Virginia Space Grant Consortium
RELEASE NO. 97-082
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY STUDENT GARNERS AWARD
IN NASA/FAA GENERAL AVIATION DESIGN COMPETITION
A Princeton University student has won the award for Design with
Greatest Retrofit Potential in the 1997 NASA/FAA General Aviation
Design Competition. Jennifer Wilson, a May graduate of the
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, received the $500
award sponsored by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
(AOPA) Air Safety Foundation. Bruce Landsberg, the Foundation's
Executive Director presented the award today to Wilson at a special
ceremony at the Experimental Aircraft Association's Annual
Convention and Fly-In.
Wilson's award is unique in that it is the first in the
competition ever given for a design submission by an individual.
All previous awards in the prestigious and highly competitive
competition have gone to student teams.
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 award was given because Wilson's design has the greatest
potential for being retrofitted in currently operating general
aviation aircraft. Wilson's design -- "The Inclusion of a Head-Up
Display to Improve General Aviation Safety" -- presents innovative
ideas for the simplification 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
review panel of industry, NASA and FAA experts The panel cited the
simplicity and uncluttered presentation of information in Wilson's
approach, which uses symbols which would 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
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation is the nation's largest nonprofit
organization dedicated exclusively to providing aviation education
and safety programs for general aviation. The foundation's mission
is to save lives and promote accident prevention through pilot
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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