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The official daily newspaper of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Volume 9, Number 8 August 3, 2008     

PADA annual design trophy awarded to John Roncz
Every year PADA (Personal Aircraft Design Academy) awards its perpetual trophy to a personal aircraft designer innovator who advanced the state of the art in aircraft performance and efficiency. This year's trophy was awarded to John Roncz whose custom designed airfoils and wings flew two 'round-the-world record airplanes, the Voyager and the GlobalFlyer.

Roncz was also an independent consultant for Scaled Composites and in that capacity provided the detail aerodynamic design (including the wings and stability and control) for the Catbird and the Ares fighter aircraft.

Roncz has also designed several of his own airplanes, including the Genesis - the first successful semi-flying wing sailplane ever built - and the Eagle personal airplane - the first Australian all-composite airplane.

PADA's keynote speaker was Dr. Morton Grosser, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who was part of the famed Human Powered Aircraft team lead by Dr. Paul MacCready. He was also involved with the 1981 Solar Challenger solar-powered airplane. Dr. Grosser presented the fascinating history of electric powered aircraft pointing out that the first electric powered flight preceded the Wright brothers-an electric powered large airship (hydrogen for buoyancy) flew in France in 1884, powered by an 8.5-hp electric motor.

Dr. Grosser challenged PADA's members to seek highly efficient airplane designs through innovations in battery technology as well as the emerging ultra capacitors. To galvanize the audience he stated that as a venture capitalist, he is involved with start-ups that have prototyped high-efficiency lightweight electric motors and nano technology for tailoring material properties. Dr. Grosser has authored books on human powered flight, inventions that shaped the world and an informative biography of Rudolf Diesel.

John Roncz
John Roncz began his aeronautical career by building a computer and then adapting a NASA airfoil analysis code to run on it. He spent months learning airfoil theory and comparing computer predictions to wind tunnel tests. When Burt Rutan heard of his work he asked John to analyze some airfoil candidates for his Solitaire sailplane. John sent him the results for these along with some of his own airfoil designs for comparison. Burt chose the Roncz airfoil section, which worked very well. This led to a collaboration, which lasted over 20 years, in which Burt developed configurations and John analyzed the stability and designed custom airfoil sections for each airplane.

John is responsible for some portion of 50 aircraft designs. The most recent to fly is the Icon A5, an amphibious Light Sport Aircraft. He was responsible for the aerodynamic design and performance of the GlobalFlyer, a radical jet in which Steve Fossett recently set 3 world records. It was the second airplane John worked on that was placed in the National Air & Space Museum. He has designed 16 propellers and wind turbines, including the propellers for the globe-circling Voyager and the prototype Starship.

Venturing outside the aircraft field, he designed the radical wing-sailed catamaran, which successfully defended the America’s Cup in 1988, and a winning WSC class racecar. John was profiled in Air & Space magazine, published by the Smithsonian. He wrote twelve articles for Sport Aviation, and has guest lectured at eight Universities, including being honored as an “Old Master” by Purdue University.

Among his awards are the Stanley Dzik Memorial Trophy; the Honor Roll of Professional Pilot magazine; the Medal of Achievement from Sailing World magazine; the Professor August Raspet Award; and the Milwaukee School of Engineering Gold Medal. John served as a “Distinguished Lecturer” for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In November 2000 he was honored by His Royal Highness Prince Philip at a ceremony in London, where he was presented with the Prince’s Australian Medal for the design of the Eagle.

John is an honors graduate of the University of Notre Dame, an artist, and a classical pianist. He holds a commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine, instrument and glider ratings and has logged over 1800 hours.






Johnny Murphy

first Long-EZ ever built from plans. New canard built to solve rain trim problem.


Rutan Aircraft Factory

self-launching sailplane


Voyager Aircraft

first aircraft to circumnavigate the earth on one tank of gas. Designed wings and propellers.

Starship 1

Beech Aircraft

designed all the airfoils. Designed the propellers for the prototype.


David Ganzer

a push-pull twin engine modification of the Long-EZ


Scaled Composites

a large crop duster


Beech Aircraft

first aircraft to fly with Williams FJ-44 engines. Piston version never flew.


Scaled Composites

high altitude UAV


Scaled Composites

designed to fire the same cannon used in the A-10. unsymmetrical configuration.


Scaled Composites

high altitude aircraft with interchangeable center fuselage for multi-mission adaptability


Rutan Aircraft Factory

designed to test many new concepts like forward swept tail and 70% laminar airfoils


Rutan Aircraft Factory

2 place ultralight for Colin Chapman of Lotus in England


Rutan Aircraft Factory

1145MS airfoil released to the public to solve rain trim issue

Cozy Mark IV

Cozy Aircraft

canard airfoil to solve issues when flying in rain


California Microwave

new canard airfoil to improve takeoff performance and handling

Pond Racer

Rutan Aircraft Factory

Robert Pond's twin engine Reno racer, and its propellers designed for Mach .70


Scaled Composites

Advanced Technology Tactical Twin designed for DARPA for a hostage rescue scenario

P-51 Replica

Legendary Aircraft

created new aerodynamic surfaces for better handling and performance


Van's Aircraft

new wing and flap configuration for better STOL performance without sacrificing cruise speed


Explorer Aircraft

a large aircraft designed to move people and cargo with higher speed and lower cost than Caravan.


Boeing Phantom Works

a canard rotor wing aircraft



a single engine six place jet


Cirrus Design

a single engine pusher business turboprop


Zivko Aeronautics

a wing designed for aerobatics. 8 of the 12 Red Bull Air Race pilots fly the Edge

Eagle X-TS

Eagle Aircraft

a three surface aircraft designed for ultralight rules

Eagle 100

Eagle Aircraft

a heavier version of the X-TS using a Continental Engine

Eagle 150B

Eagle Aircraft

redesigned version of the model 100 using a new engine with reduced landing speeds


Fred Keller

a large STOL airplane designed for rugged Alaskan terrain


Group Genesis

a 15 meter standard class flying wing glider designed for world competition

Melmoth II

Peter Garrison

first plane to fly with airfoils using more than 70% laminar flow

Tier 2+

Orbital Science

finalist in government competition for high altitude UAV

Hermes 450

Silver Arrow


Hermes 1500

Silver Arrow



Silver Arrow


Project Lima

Scaled Composites

information not available to the public

Skylark 2

AD&D/Elbit Systems

electric powered UAV


Israel Aircraft Industries



Israel Aircraft Industries



Israel Aircraft Industries



Israel Aircraft Industries



Flarecraft Corporation

ground effect seaplane


Scaled Composites

single engine, single place jet for distance records including global circumnavigation without refueling

Freebird MK-IV

Freewing Corporation

manned aircraft featuring a self-trimming wing which freely rotates in response to turbulence


Freewing Corporation

unmanned UAV featuring the freewing concept


Freewing Corporation

unmanned UAV featuring vertical performance and using the freewing concept



a 4 place forward-swept wing high performance aircraft


Charles Richey

a 2 place advanced technology gyroplane



rotor to break the mu=1 barrier

Icon A-5

Icon Aircraft

LSA amphibian


Stars & Stripes

Sail America Foundation

radical wing-sailed catamaran which successfully defended the America's Cup


Riley & Scott

WSC class race car with a distinguised record of victories.


By Design Group

a catamaran which uses 3 hydrofoils for high speed

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