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Thu, Oct 21, 2010

PTC Announces 2011 Real World Design Challenge Theme

Students Tasked To Design Plane With Enhanced Fuel Efficiency

The Real World Design Challenge is an annual competition involving more than 4,375 high school students run by a public-private partnership with the goal of inspiring interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields and careers. In the 2011 Challenge, teams of three to seven high school students (grades 9-12) are tasked with designing a plane by evaluating the forces of flight, lift, weight, thrust and drag with the goal of enhancing fuel efficiency. As part of this program, the students will design the exterior geometry and internal structure of an airliner wing using aeroelastic tailoring methods to minimize the objective function by experimenting with and changing specified variables. The Product Development Company (PTC) announced the theme on Tuesday

The Real World Design Challenge is designed by professionals from industry, government and academia and is one of the aerospace industry's top priorities for workforce development in the student community. 

PTC and its partners, including Cessna, the FAA, NASA, and 30 others, are focused on transforming and enhancing STEM education in the American educational system by providing science, engineering and learning resources that allow students and teachers to address an actual challenge confronting one of the nation's most important industries. Fifty-four percent of the aerospace science and technology (S&T) workforce is over 45 and 33% are already eligible to retire. Currently, there are not enough students in the pipeline to replace them. Less than 7.5% of high school graduates pursue undergraduate degrees in engineering, and of those, only about 50% earn an engineering degree.

"We are honored to be a part of this one-of-a-kind program that allows students to make a substantive contribution to improve the current energy and climate-change crises," said Ralph K. Coppola, director, Real World Design Challenge and director, government & strategic education programs, PTC. "Since all resources are provided by the partnership, students across the country - regardless of financial and fundraising ability - can participate and learn these critical engineering and design skills." 

The winning teams from the 30 participating states will be notified between February 16-22, 2011. These teams will then receive all-expense-paid trips to Washington, D.C. to compete at the National Challenge Event April 15-18, 2011. Real World Design Challenge National awards will be given out at an event at the National Air and Space Museum on April 16, 2011. First Place , Second Place, Third Place and special Merit Award are given to exemplars.

"The global economy is in a state of flux, and in order to maintain our nation's technical and industrial leadership, we need to foster our future engineers by mentoring them and teaching them to think innovatively," said James Brough, National  Education Program Manager, FAA. "The Challenge encourages students to get excited about science, technology, engineering and math - these capabilities and skills make a competitive and pioneering workforce."

The deadline for teams to register for the Challenge is November 19, 2010 and solution submissions are due by January 31, 2011.

FMI: www.realworlddesignchallenge.org

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