NASA Tilt-rotor Design Winners Announced

WASHINGTON, April 28 (UPI) — NASA says helicopter designs of the future may look very different — at least as imagined by high school students for an aeronautics competition.

The space agency challenged students to write a paper about a civilian aircraft that could hover, rescue up to 50 survivors of a disaster, land on ground or water, travel at least 920 miles and cruise at speeds up to 345 mph.

In addition, the competition rules said the amphibious tilt-rotor vehicle had to be able to fight fires by siphoning water into an internal tank and dumping it while airborne.

More than 100 teenagers from the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Romania, Singapore and Turkey entered the competition in teams or as individuals.

The winning team design was submitted by two high schools seniors at the Norfolk Technical Center in Norfolk, Va. NASA officials said Edric San Miguel’s and Vito Morlino’s design looks like a flying wing with rotor assemblies on top of the nose and between two tail fins.

The winning individual design was submitted by Thomas Melanson, a ninth grade student at Hilton Head Island High School in South Carolina.

Three juniors from Chung International Secondary School in Hong Kong took top international honors.

A list of the winners and other information is available at

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