Westminster aircraft maker wins magazine's design award

March 27, 1994|By From Staff Reports

Freewing Aircraft, a Westminster experimental aircraft manufacturer, is one of three recipients of $5,000 "Excellence in Design" awards from a national engineering magazine.

Hugh Schmittle, Freewing's president, was honored by Design News for the company's "freewing" concept, a wing that flexes with turbulent air to allow a smoother and safer flight. Traditional aircraft use fixed wings, which must be adjusted by the pilot and which force planes to move up and down in turbulence.

Mr. Schmittle and his partner, Odile Legeay, are using the concept on small, two-seater aircraft and unmanned drones suitable for military reconnaissance.

Freewing, which is building its headquarters at the Carroll County Regional Airport, is a product of the University of Maryland's incubator program, which provides technical and business expertise to innovative operations.

The company's freewing concept, developed by Mr. Schmittle and Ms. Legeay, has won other awards, including a Discover magazine award for aviation and aeronautics.

DTC Design News, a nine-year sponsor of the awards program, is a bi-monthly trade magazine published in Newton, Mass.

The award, presented earlier this month, is given annually at the National Design Engineering Show in Chicago, said magazine spokesman David Salyers.

Winners are chosen from hundreds of entries submitted nationwide by a panel of the publication's editors, all of whom are engineers or mathematicians, he said.

"They're not compared to each other," Mr. Salyers said. "It would be difficult to compare something submitted from the automotive industry to something from the medical industry."

The other award winners were Jack Wilkerson, an engineer at GSI Medical Systems in Carmel, N.Y., and James J. Lockshaw, head of Tolo Inc. in Santa Ana, Calif.

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