"We will definitely make Georgia get back on its feet” - Young Georgian inventor of the future aircraft
05 October, 2017
"We will definitely make Georgia get back on its feet” - Young Georgian inventor of the future aircraft
Giorgi Mchedlishvili, a 22-year-old Operations Research major at Columbia university's Engineering School,
together with his teachers and other students has developed a model of the new engines and futuristic aircraft named Gryphon, which won NASA Aeronautics Challenge.

-"Gryphon" is the name of the future commercial airplane model that I have created with my teammates.We designed a future aircraft that will consume less fuel, produce less harmful emissions and make less noise” – Giorgi says.

On September 26, 2017 the winner
team visited NASA headquarters and held presentation of their project.
geotv.ge
-A truly memorable day. It was a great honor to visit NASA Langley Research Center on their 100th anniversary and present the winning model of the Gryphon.

It was exciting to see the successful collaboration between NASA and German Aerospace Center (DLR) that also organized Aeronautics Challenge; The winning graduate team from Technical University of Munich was visiting the symposium Christian Decher.

We had an incredible opportunity to share our knowledge with chief scientists of NASA and DLR, discussing the future of the world’s aerospace industry.

It was my father who inspired me most about space and astronomy. He has been a great journalist and significantly contributed to advancing journalism and critical thinking in Georgia. My father turned out to be the only Georgian who interviewed Edgar Mitchell. I always remember his memories about Edgar Mitchell and their talk about the importance of the Apollo missions. Mitchell was a Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 14 and the sixth person to step on the Moon. We can say that history repeated in New York this February, when I had a chance to get to know Charles Duke and his wife Dorothy. Duke became the tenth and the youngest astronaut to walk on the Moon. Words cannot describe the importance of meeting one of the twelve astronauts, who participated in the most important missions of human history. I am glad I'll have a chance to meet him again at Margaret Mead Film Festival where the premiere of Lunar Orbit (a movie about his 1972 Moon walk) will take place.
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-Could you elaborate about your invention that won NASA Challenge?

-"Gryphon" is the name of the future commercial airplane model that I have created with my teammates. Last September, my friend, Elon Gordon itold me about the challenge announced by NASA and told me that a small team of students was going to participate in it. He suggested me to work together on the project. We had quite a serious approach to the work because we believed that there was a theoretical chance of contributing in development of the future aeronautics industry.

Our team consisted of 12 people and three divisions: engine, aerodynamics and aerodesign. Ilon Gordon and I were the co-directors of the engine group. In particular, I was working on optimization of burning and cooling systems of the engine. As a result, I reduced the production of harmful emissions by more than 80% and, subsequently, it met the essential requirements of NASA. Additionally, improving the combustion system allowed us to reduce fuel consumption by 50-60%.

The main purpose of this challenge was to create a commercial aircraft, the implementation of which would be quite realistic in 2025-2035. Of course, this project included calculating financial expanses as well. The cost of producing our aircraft should have been competitive with the prices on the market. We also met this requirement and as it turned out it was the last challenge announced by NASA. Eventually we reached our goal and designed such aircraft that is possible to be implemented fully or partially, certain system (engine or aerodynamics) of this design in future commercial airplanes.

It is such a honor to me and my team members that an article about our work was published on NASA’s official website. The article stressed how innovative "Gryphon" is and unveiled our future plans.
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- Could you elaborate about your team and its leader?

- The leader of our 12-year-old group was Lyon Kim and my close friend, Elon Gordon. I would say that this was the case when our enthusiasm and persistent teamwork resulted in success.

In contrast to other leading universities, where students undergo special courses for participating in Low Noise Subsonic Challenge, our main source to creativity was pure enthusiasm. However, we had a very experienced mentor who assisted us and gave us very helpful advices from time to time.

The victory in this challenge was and will always be the proof that a person can succeed even in a short period of time if there one has a true desire and is extremely determined.

- Could you elaborate about your future plans?

-In parallel to my academic career, I am a co-founder of SAC Group, which was established this summer and at present it is one of the first and professional companies offering consulting and investment services in agribusiness and biotechnology field in Georgia and in our whole region. We are the official partners of the American International Agribusiness Firm, GIC Group, which has been involved in many successful projects throughout the world. Our main goal is to establish new standards in the region and to develop the industry which is vitally important to Georgia.

As for my long-term future plans, they are closely related to the United States and my homeland Georgia. We will definitely make Georgia get back on its feet!

Author: Eka Salaghaia

Related stories:

Georgian student’s Gryphon aircraft claims first place in NASA competition

Georgian students attend annual innovations summit at NASA

Young Georgian students to visit CERN after NASA
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