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For Release: August 16, 1996

Don Nolan-Proxmire

Headquarters, Washington, DC

Keith Henry

Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA

Mary Sandy

Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Hampton, VA


NASA and FAA Sponsor General Aviation Design Competition

NASA and the FAA are sponsoring a General Aviation Design Competition for the 1996-97 academic year that is open to undergraduate and/or graduate students at

U.S. aeronautical and engineering universities.

In its third year, the competition engages students in a national effort to revitalize the U.S. general aviation sector and seeks to educate students on the importance of general aviation for business and personal use as well as its economic importance. The national goals for rebuilding U. S. general aviation offer open-ended design challenges which can provide the basis for a quality educational experience, organizers said.

Student designs are judged by a panel of experts from industry, government and academia. All teams receive written evaluations of their design packages. It is anticipated that at least $11,500 will be given in cash awards, including a $500 special award from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Foundation for the design with the greatest potential for retrofit in currently operating aircraft.

General aviation includes all flight operations except military services and commercial airlines. The 212,000 general aviation aircraft in service in the U.S. account for 62 percent of all U.S. flight hours, while providing 540,000 jobs and contributing $40 billion to the U.S. economy. For the purposes of the competition, general aviation aircraft are defined as: fixed-wing, single-engine, single pilot, propeller-driven aircraft for 2-6 passengers. Performance specifications are 150-300 knots with an 800-1,000 mile range.

The competition is coordinated on behalf of NASA and the FAA by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. Guidelines are available by phone at 757/865-0726, at or can be accessed at

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