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Archive for Tuesday, November 2, 2010

KU graduates sweep top spots at international aircraft design competition

November 2, 2010

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Kansas University graduates earned the top three prizes this year in the oldest international aircraft design competition, after winning first and second in 2009.

Lauren Fitzpatrick, of Stilwell, won first place in the individual aircraft design competition put on by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Sarah Kulhanek, of Deerfield, Ill., and Chris Vaughn, of Andale, earned second and third. All three earned bachelor’s degrees from KU in spring 2010.

The contest drew competitors from more than 50 universities in the U.S., United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands and Australia.

Fitzpatrick earned $2,500 for her entry, “Air Fitz, Transonic Business.” Kulhanek received $1,500 for “The Wrigley Business Jet Design,” and Vaughn earned $1,000 for “Modern Pioneer Midsize Business Jet.”

Ron Barrett-Gonzalez, associate professor of aerospace engineering, coached all three students. He said that it was the first time a minority woman had won the competition in its 42-year-history and that the total cash awards were the largest amount ever won by KU students in an international competition.

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