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Bill Uher
(757) 864-3189, (757) 344-6811 cell

Fayetteville On-Site Media Relations:
Kathy Barnstorff: cell: 757-344-8511

RELEASE NO. 03-032

May 20, 2003

NASA Langley Sponsors National Student Competition

Thought to be the ultimate in point-to-point mobility, flying cars of the 1980s Back to the Future and 1960s Jetsons-fame remain a 21st-century fantasy. Perhaps, not for long.

The Aerospace Vehicle Systems Technology Office (AVSTO) at NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., will today award the winners of a national high school competition challenging students to design a practical flying car that could help revolutionize the nation's transportation system.

The winners will be recognized at the Festival of Flight Student Awards Banquet at 7 p.m. May 20 in Fayetteville, N.C. NASA Langley AVSTO Director Dr. Darrel R. Tenney will present the awards. Astronaut Jeffrey S. Ashby will deliver the keynote address. Langley's Director of Education Samuel E. Massenberg will also address the students.

A dozen teams from around the country entered the competition. The first place award is shared by three female students who submitted the highest scoring vehicle entries:

  • Chandra Thompson, a senior at Tourtellotte Memorial High School, North Grovensdale, Ct., submitted an individual entry called "Bumblebee X Hybrid Flying Car Design".
  • Michele Froede, junior, and Claire Olson, senior at Lake Braddock Secondary School, Burke, Va., submitted a vehicle design dubbed "Discharge Dodge of the Future."

Second place was shared by two student teams:

  • "Travel by Flying Car: The Transportation of the Future," submitted by a second team from Lake Braddock Secondary School, Burke, Va. Team members are: Abbie Legge, Leah Olson, Shaun Scrafford, Nikolai Vozza, and Emily Zenner.
  • A team from Mount Abraham Union High School, Bristol, Vt., submitted a study on "Flock Dynamics". Team members are: Emily Godard, Tanya Roberts and Tyler McGuire.

Third place went to the Chattanooga Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol in Chattanooga, Tenn. The 27-member team, composed of mostly home-schooled students aged 12 - 17, submitted a paper that attempted to make the famous Back to the Future movie sports car fly.

Entries were judged on originality of conceptual design, ground support systems, propulsion system, noise and other environmental impact, cost analysis and other challenges identified by the student teams in their research.

The competition was administered by the Departments of Physics, Mathematics and Computer Sciences at Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Va. Entries were received in April and reviewed by a panel of NASA engineers and educators.

The winners will receive a plaque engraved with their team's design name and organization's name. In addition, all winning teams will receive education improvement awards ranging from $500 to $1,000 and a specially created NASA certificate and artist's rendering of a personal air vehicle.



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