AIAA Congratulates the Winners of the Conrad Award Spirit of Innovation Challenge and the Real World Design Challenge Written 3 May 2013

AIAA Congratulates the Winners of the Conrad Award Spirit of Innovation Challenge and the Real World Design Challenge


In April, high school students gathered in Houston, TX for the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Summit and in Washington, DC for the Real World Design Challenge finals. Every year, thousands of students submit their proposals to solve real-world challenges posed by the aerospace community. AIAA members participate in both competitions as judges, coaches and mentors as these students reach for the finals in April.

The Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Challenge had challenges in Aerospace and Aviation, Cybertechnology and Security, Energy and Environment and Health and Nutrition. This year. Team M^3 from Warren High School in Downey, CA, impressed the judges with their “Sleep Halo,” a low tech, but highly innovative product that has the potential to revolutionize the air travel industry. The product is an adjustable circular headrest and cushion for airplane seats to allow for maximum comfort during long flights. The coach for the team, Glenn Yamasaki, received the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Coaches Award and each of the students received a one-year AIAA student membership. To read more about the other finalists, go to To learn more about how to become involved in the 2013-14 Challenges, go to

The Real World Design Challenge posed the following challenge to students:
Conrad1To design a sUAS, which includes one or more fixed-wing UAVs, and to develop a business plan in support of commercial applications based on the following mission scenario. Mission Scenario: Search for a missing, injured and immobilized child with a blue jacket during the day at the Philmont Ranch in a designated 2-mile radius circular search area. This area is sized to allow line-of-sight contact between the operator and aircraft to be maintained, per FAA guidelines. Teams should refine the vehicle design, sensor payload selection, search pattern, best altitudes for the selected sensor payload, and associated ground equipment to find the child in the minimum time while also minimizing cost. Location: Philmont Ranch, New Mexico, between Rich Cabins and Beatty Lake in the Carson National Forest.

States conducted their own competitions, with the state winners being invited to the finals in Washington, DC. AIAA congratulates the Aeronautical Dolphins, from Marianas High School, Commonwealth of the Marianas Islands, National Champion, CCA Innovators, Commonwealth Connections Academy, Pennsylvania 2nd place and Wildcats, Kimball Union Academy, New Hampshire 3rd place in the Aerospace Challenge. Dr. Lourdes Maurice presented AIAA student memberships to the National Champions. To learn more about becoming involved in the 2013-14 Challenges, go to