• Home
  • Cherry Picked - Aerospace engineering students take 1st place in Hong Kong competition

Aerospace engineering students take 1st place in Hong Kong competition

Monday, March 21, 2016

LAWRENCE — A team of graduate students from the University of Kansas School of Engineering took first place at an international design competition held late last year in Hong Kong.

The team, composed entirely of aerospace engineering graduate students, won the competition in December at the international Power Electronics Systems and Applications conference with a design for their aircraft, known as the Bay Area Transport, Wing-in-Ground-effect (BATWING).

Team members said the BATWING design can help decrease marine and air pollution. Unlike a gas-powered motor on a boat, the BATWING flies just above the water and runs electrically, leaving no air pollution or wake in the water. It would also decrease air pollution by allowing fewer cars to be stagnant in traffic on coastal city highways.

The BATWING could carry nine passengers over water, marshlands, mud flats and flat pavement at speeds up to 120 mph. This electric aircraft could decongest traffic in coastal cities by one-third, according to Ron Barrett-Gonzalez, professor of aerospace engineering and team adviser.

“For every person that you take out of the car, you save a huge amount of gas. The impact of pollution from these cars could be roughly halved,” Barrett-Gonzalez said.

The KU team squared off against 22 other teams from China, India, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. They won $2,500 and a travel reimbursement for their first-place finish. This is the first year KU aerospace engineering students have won the competition.

“This was the first time I’ve gone through the entire process of design, which is a whole lot different than exercises in the textbook,” team leader Eric Bodlak said. “Everyone came out of it with a lot of confidence knowing they could apply their skills to the real world.”

The team:

  • Eric Bodlak, Wayne, Nebraska, team leader
  • Lauren Schumacher, Rolla, Missouri, deputy team leader
  • Dhruv Chawla, Mumbai, India
  • Sagar Jaju, Punjagatta, India
  • Jeevan Kolli, Hyderabad, India
  • Ankur Patil, Bangalore, India


Read the latest MUSE News!

Find out what KU's Museum Studies Program and our alumni are up to:

September 2017 Newsletter
January 2017 Newsletter


Museum Events

Red Hot Research: Graduate Edition
Friday, November 17 | 4 p.m.-5:30 a.m.
The Commons, Spooner Hall, 1340 Jayhawk Blvd.
Red Hot Research brings together scholars from all disciplines, speaking for six minutes each in Pecha Kucha–inspired presentations. Audience members are encouraged to connect with the speakers and each other during breaks. This session features graduate student research.

Slow Art Sunday: Amida Buddha (Amitabha) 
Sunday, November 19 | 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 407, 1301 Mississippi St
Slow down at the Spencer and spend time getting to know one great work of art. Slow Art Sunday features one work for visitors to contemplate and converse about with Museum staff. In November, get to know Amida Buddha (Amitabha).

Performance: Aspects of Liszt 
Sunday, November 19 | 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 317, Sam and Connie Perkins Central Court, 1301 Mississippi St
Distinguished Emmy-winning author, critic, radio and film producer David Dubal joins KU international concert artist Steven Spooner in an afternoon of piano music from the era of the Spencer Museum’s origins and fascinating commentary on the legendary Franz Liszt. This concert is part of the Museum’s centennial celebration of our collection.

Day After Thanksgiving Program: Magic Marbles 
Friday, November 24 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The National Museum of Toys/Miniatures, 5235 Oak St. Kansas City, MO
It’s a day of marble magic with fun for the entire family. Explore the museum’s special exhibit Playing for Keeps: The VFW Marble Tournaments, 1947-1962, and try your hand at “knuckling down” during a marble lesson. Then, pick out your own marble and turn it into a piece of wearable art to take home with you. Included with museum admission.

Global Film Festival
Thursday, November 30 | 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Rm. 309 1301 Mississippi St
Curated by first-year students, the Global Film Festival features four films exploring ideas in Spencer Museum exhibitions. This film is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Power Clashing: Clothing, Collage, and Contemporary Identities. The film will be announced on the Museum’s website.

Home to 50+ departments, centers, and programs, the School of the Arts, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration
KU offers courses in 40 languages
No. 1 ranking in city management and urban policy —U.S. News and World Report
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times