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Student Innovations Take Flight in DOT Competition
- By Dian Schaffhauser
The United States Department of Transportation is seeking out innovations in aviation and aerospace among students in high school and college through the second annual RAISE Award competition.
Submissions for this year's "Recognizing Aviation and Aerospace Innovation in Science and Engineering" award will be accepted from May 1 to July 1. Public voting and judging takes place through October 30. Winners will be announced on October 31.
The intent of the competition is to encourage students to develop creative solutions to aviation and aerospace issues and to share their results with the broader community. Entries may consist of research papers, science experiments, inventions, or ideas for inventions. The contest is open to individuals and teams. The submissions will be judged on originality, impact, practicality, measurability, applicability, and technical merit by a panel of people from the department, the Federal Aviation Administration, and NASA, as well as academic experts.
Winners have the chance to visit with the transportation secretary and present their idea to department officials. (Current Secretary Ray LaHood has announced his resignation, and a replacement has not yet been appointed.) They'll also receive a trophy with their names and the data of the award, which will be displayed at the department in Washington, D.C. A display copy of the trophy will also be sent to the recipients' school, and team members will receive individual plaques or trophies.
The 2012 recipients of the award, a team of high school students from Middletown, CT, proposed a modification to the angled end of an aircraft wing, which would allow it to change its angle during ascent and descent to reduce drag and save fuel. The new wing design was projected to reduce jet fuel use by 600 million gallons a year just among the country's commercial fleet of 737s.
Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.