PTC Announces 2011 Real World Design Challenge Theme

Students tasked to design plane with enhanced fuel efficiency 


NEEDHAM, Mass. – Oct. 22, 2010PTC® (NASDAQ: PMTC), The Product Development Company®, today announced the theme for the 2011 Real World Design Challenge. Teams of three to seven high school students (grades 9-12) are tasked with designing a plane by evaluating the forces of flight, lift, weight, thrust and drag with the goal of enhancing fuel efficiency. As part of this program, the students will design the exterior geometry and internal structure of an airliner wing using aeroelastic tailoring methods to minimize the objective function by experimenting with and changing specified variables. 

The Real World Design Challenge is designed by professionals from industry, government and academia and is one of the aerospace industry’s top priorities for workforce development in the student community. 

The Challenge is an annual competition involving more than 4,375 high school students run by a public-private partnership with the goal of inspiring interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and careers. PTC and its partners, including Cessna Aircraft Company, Federal Aviation Administration, NASA and 30 additional partners, are focused on transforming and enhancing STEM education in the American educational system by providing science, engineering and learning resources that allow students and teachers to address an actual challenge confronting one of the nation’s most important industries. Fifty-four percent of the aerospace science and technology (S&T) workforce is older than 45 and 33 percent are eligible to retire now. Currently, there are not sufficient numbers of students in the pipeline to replace them. Less than 7.5 percent of high school graduates pursue undergraduate degrees in engineering. Of the 7.5 percent who enter engineering, only about 50 percent earn a degree in engineering.

“We are honored to be a part of this one-of-a-kind program that allows students to make a substantive contribution to improve the current energy and climate change crises,” said Ralph K. Coppola, director, Real World Design Challenge and director, government & strategic education programs, PTC. “Since all resources are provided by the partnership, students across the country – regardless of financial and fundraising ability – can participate and learn these critical engineering and design skills.” 

The winning teams from the 30 participating states will be notified between Feb. 16-22, 2011. These teams will then receive all expense paid trips to Washington, D.C. to compete at the National Challenge Event April 15-18, 2011. Real World Design Challenge National Awards will be given out to First Place, Second Place and Third Place teams and a special Merit Award will be given to exemplars.

“The global economy is in a state of flux, and in order to maintain our nation’s technical and industrial leadership, we need to foster our future engineers by mentoring them and teaching them to think innovatively,” said Paula Lewis, Assistant Administrator for Regions and Center Operations, FAA. “The Challenge encourages students to get excited about science, technology, engineering and math – these capabilities and skills make a competitive and pioneering workforce.”

PTC provides commercial-grade product development software, including Pro/ENGINEER® (3D product design software), Windchill® (PLM software) and Mathcad® (engineering calculation software), to the Challenge. PTC also provides connections and access to mentors from its partner organizations across America who are participants in the competition or program management for the competition. 

In addition to PTC, other partner organizations have contributed resources to make the Challenge free to all students. Mentor Graphics has provided FloEFD™ (3D fluid flow, heat transfer analysis package) and NEi Software has provided NEi Nastran (finite element analysis).

For additional information contact Dr. Ralph K. Coppola, Real World Design Challenge Director at Email Contact. To register a team or to sign up as a mentor go to the Real World Design Challenge website  The deadline for teams to register for the Challenge is Nov. 19, 2010 and solution submissions are due by Jan. 31, 2011.


About PTC  

PTC (NASDAQ: PMTC) provides discrete manufacturers with software and services to meet the globalization, time-to-market and operational efficiency objectives of product development. Using the company's PLM and CAD and related solutions, organizations in the Industrial, High-Tech, Aerospace/Defense, Automotive, Retail/Consumer and Life Sciences industries are able to support key business objectives such as reducing costs and shortening lead times while creating innovative products that meet customer needs and comply with industry regulations.  For more information on PTC, please visit

PTC, The Product Development Company, Windchill, Mathcad and all other PTC product names and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Parametric Technology Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and in other countries.


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