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University Relations

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Dec. 22, 2005
Contact: Erin Curtis-Dierks, School of Fine Arts, (785) 864-9742.

KU industrial design students help create flying car prototype

LAWRENCE -- A group of nine University of Kansas students in the design department in the School of Fine Arts unveiled their flying car design Dec. 15 at KU's Center for Design. The presentation of the design was the culmination of work that began in August, and the final presentation included a scale model and an extensively rendered computer graphic animation.

Dubbed the "AirCar," the flying car remains a design concept on paper, but the industrial design students hope someday the car could become a reality. The idea for AirCar started with Vancouver, Wash., businessman James Milner, who has asked about eight individuals and businesses nationwide to assist with different elements of the AirCar plan. It was Milner who first contacted Lawrence-based DARcorporation, an airplane design firm, about building the flying car.

DARcorporation then contacted the KU industrial design class, led by Lance Rake, professor of industrial design, and sponsored them to design the AirCar.

The students in Rake's class put in numerous hours to create the final design for the AirCar prototype. The winning design concept featured a car that at full size would be about the size of a Toyota Prius, with wings that meet at the top of the car when the vehicle was driving.

Rake's students accepted this opportunity as a class project and were not in competition with professional design firms to create the prototype. "We were really excited for the design challenge," said Greg Thomas, chair of the design department. "Projects such as this prepare our talented students for industry jobs, and we were very happy to be a part of such an exciting initiative."

For more information about the AirCar, please contact the Department of Design at (785) 864-4401.

The students who presented their work are listed below by home city, level in school, parents' names and high school alma mater. All are design majors in KU's School of Fine Arts.

From Medicine Lodge
Blair C. Donovan, senior, daughter of Mike and Rhonda Donovan; Medicine Lodge High School graduate

From Leawood
Tim Phillip Wantland, senior, son of Jim and Susan Wantland; Shawnee Mission East High School graduate

From Lenexa
Michael Hink Lucas, senior, son of Mark and Patricia Hink; St.Thomas Aquinas High School graduate

From Lecompton
Jeffrey Michael Lewis, junior, son of James and Carolyn Lewis; Perry-Lecompton High School graduate

From Hoffman Estates
Jana L. Silverman, senior, daughter of Ronald and Nancy Silverman; Hoffman Estates High School graduate

From Blue Springs
Reed Keith Schmidt, senior, son of Donn and Cheryl Schmidt; Blue Springs South High School graduate

From Fremont
Greg Daniel Lorett, senior, son of Gayle Lorett; Fremont Senior High School graduate

From Rochester
Douglas Aaron Vander Valk, senior, son of Paul and Jill Vander Valk; Irondequoit High School graduate

From Kanagawa
Yasuhiro Homma, senior, son of Tetsuji Homma; Musashi Institute of Technology graduate


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus. | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045