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Hot wheels
Editor’s note: We heard from a number of readers regarding the From the Archives photo in the Winter 2005 issue. Following are excerpts from some of the letters.

RIT solar cars
Readers were able to identify all of these students except the young man squatting on the far right near the solar car.

As a professor emeritus of the Kate Gleason College of Engineering (retired in 2000 after 41 years in the mechanical engineering department), I do recall
information about this photograph and the students in it.

The photo was planned, orchestrated and executed by Dave Hathaway, the facilities manager for KGCOE. It took place in the spring of 1991 in the drive to the receiving doors at the machine shop.

The Methanol Marathon Car was a vehicle donated to the department by General Motors and was used to test and evaluate the use of methanol additives to automotive fuels. It participated in several competitions and tests for several years, and several groups of students worked on it.

The solar car Spirit was designed by a mechanical engineering student group and construction began in the summer of 1990 and continued through the fall and winter. It was completed in the spring of 1991 for a cross-country competition.

The Spirit trailer shown was a donation and was new in the spring of 1991. It was used to transport the solar car to and from the 1991 competition and was also used for several years after.

The Mini Baja car shown in the lower center was designed and constructed in the fall and winter of 1990 and completed for the national competition in the spring of 1991 by mechanical engineering students.

In the picture are: front, Bill Robertson ’91 and Rene Jessome ’91; middle, from left, Paul Van Brocklin ’91, Lynne Bishop ’91, and unknown student (squatting by solar car); back, from left, John McCarvill ’91, Melissa King ’91, Sean Brown ’95, and Neil Keukelaar.

Chris F. Nilsen
Professor Emeritus, KGCOE
Pittsford, N.Y.

You asked if anyone has additional information about the photo on page 48 of the Winter 2005 magazine. The picture shows the methanol challenge car, which I believe competed in 1989; the solar car that competed in the GM Sunrayce 1990; and the Mini Baja from 1989.

The trailer in the background was purchased for the solar car program but was used for several SAE projects.

Right in the center is Lynne Bishop ’94 (mechanical engineering). I recognize everyone but cannot remember the names right now.

It was great to see that picture. I was very involved with the solar car project. That project and the support of Professor Alan Nye and Dave Hathaway are what made me love going to school at RIT.

David Hartmann ’98 (mechanical engineering)
Bristol, Conn.

This photo was taken 15 years ago and used on the RIT Mechanical Engineering College of Engineering brochure. What is funny is that I had recently cleaned a closet and found the brochure. I showed it to my wife and kids and they thought it was cool. Last night I read the magazine and saw the picture. I recognized it immediately. It seems like only yesterday but it was 15 years ago. Interesting.

I know some of the names: From top left standing behind the driver side door of the Methanol Challenge Car driver door are John McCarvill (me); Sean Brown (leaning on door, middle back); Melissa in front of Sean; lower right kneeling next to solar racer, Greg. All the other cool dudes and dudette – I remember their faces but can not remember their names.

John McCarvill ’91 (mechanical engineering)
Schenectady, N.Y.

I am a 2001 graduate of College of Engineering and a five-year member of the Formula Team. The picture is obviously before my time but I recognized two of the people in the photo. They guy leaning on the Solar car wearing the ASME T-shirt is Lynn Bishop III, and the guy with the Rochester sweatshirt sitting on the Baja Car is William Robertson. Lynn and Will were two of the founders of the Formula team in the early 1990s. For more about them, visit the formula team Web site: www.rit.edu/~formula/com/com.htm

Aaron Yeager ’01 (mechanical engineering)
Reading, Penn.

WOW! I am standing in the back row with the beard behind the blond-haired lady. I recognize all the people in the picture, but would need a directory to pull up the names. 

I don’t even remember this being taken. I was the chairman of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers)  at the time.

Sean Brown ’95 (mechanical engineering)

Clearing the air

A-6E Intruder JetI really liked your article on CIMS in the winter issue, but I must point out that you made a grievous error in the U.S. military aircraft identification. The jet that is housed at CIMS is an A-6E Intruder, not its much uglier and less versatile third cousin thrice removed, the AE-6B Prowler.

The A-6 at CIMS was an attack bomber jet that was put into service in the early ’60s and retired in 1992. I should know; I was an Intruder “right seater” bombardier/navigator and logged over 1,000 hours of flight time in that lovable piece of metal. In fact, No.507 (the plane now at CIMS) was assigned to VA-145, one of my former squadrons, as well as other outfits at the Whidbey Island, Wash., Naval Air Station.

Although I never actually flew in this bird, I can safely say that it ferried many, many of my Navy buddies around the skies of western Washington, Oregon and California, not to mention making countless aircraft carrier launches and landings.

Rob Vlosky ’81 (photo illustration)
Pittsford, N.Y.

Editor’s note: Vlosky is correct. Although researchers at RIT’s Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies are working on several projects related to the AE-6B Prowler, they are using the A-6E Intruder, shown above, as a stand-in.

Sol survivor
I am finally getting around to a long overdue response to the Archives photo in the Fall 2005 magazine. I happened to be the public relations manager for the 1990 Sunrayce team and team captain of the 1991 Tour De Sol, which was a smaller event that took place in the East Coast. We raced from Albany to Providence and actually came in first in our class. The picture that you used was the 1991 car, but I think we would all agree that this version was a little “flashier” than the 1990 car. In either case, I was elated to see the coverage; both events were awesome experiences for myself and the team.

My greatest memories from both years all involve working through problems with some great friends - we encountered many and overcame them in the end. All with a lot of planning, a little luck, and no sleep. Great times . . .

Thanks for reviving the memories.

Alan Franz ’91 (mechanical engineering)
Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Do you have comments or information for the Letters page? Send e-mail to umagwww@rit.edu or write to The University Magazine, University News Services, Rochester Institute of Technology, 132 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623. Letters may be edited for space.