Jan. 20, 2004

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Contact: Jan Roskam, (785) 832-0434, ext. 102, or KU Aerospace Engineering, (785) 864-4267.

KU aerospace graduates win second place in national aircraft-design contest

LAWRENCE -- Six University of Kansas May 2003 aerospace engineering graduates won second place in the national 2002/2003 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics student design competition.

The KU graduates won a $1,500 team award for an ultra-heavy-lift-platform aircraft called the KUMODO Dragon. The design was capable of transporting up to 1.2 million pounds, termed comparable to 10 tanks that weigh roughly 110,000 pounds apiece. Equipped with 10 General Electric Model 90 engines mounted on forward-swept wings, the aircraft has an estimated design takeoff weight of 3.5 million pounds, or five times the weight of a Boeing 777 aircraft.

Jan Roskam, Deane Ackers distinguished professor of aerospace engineering, was faculty adviser for the KU team. Roskam retired Dec. 31, 2003, after teaching 36 years at KU. Under his direction, teams of KU aerospace engineering students have earned 26 first prizes and 13 second-place awards in AIAA national contests in 21 years.

Both undergraduate and graduate students submitted design entries that members of the AIAA Technical Committee judged. Sponsored by the nonprofit educational AIAA Foundation, the contests seek to increase the practical skills of students in individual and team conditions and to recognize excellence in aerospace engineering studies. The design entry was prepared as part of a senior undergraduate class activity during the spring 2003 semester, and awards were announced in fall 2003. Cash awards were given to the first three places in each of the nine student design competitions.

KU student team members, their hometowns, academic status, parents' names and high school alma maters are:

From Humboldt
Mark Bauer, May 2003 aerospace engineering graduate working for Boeing Co., Wichita, son of Christopher and Carol Bauer; Humboldt High School graduate.

From Lawrence
Carl Johnson, team facilitator and May 2003 aerospace engineering graduate now in graduate school at Georgia Institute of Technology, son of Terry Johnson; Baldwin High School graduate.

From Blackfoot
Aaron Balsmeier, May 2003 aerospace engineering graduate working as a nuclear engineer for the U.S. Navy, Washington, D.C., son of Debra and Gene Balsmeier; Blackfoot High School graduate.

From Blue Springs and Independence
Ben Shockley, May 2003 aerospace engineering graduate working for Boeing Co., St. Louis, son of Rick and Patti Shockley; Blue Springs Senior High School graduate.

From Kansas City
Jessica Landes, master's degree student in aerospace engineering, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Landes; Lincoln College Prep Academy graduate.

From Omaha
Lance Holly, master's degree student in aerospace engineering, son of Norman and Beth Holly; Omaha High School graduate.


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