The DBF competition was initiated by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIA) foundation in the late 1990s as a way to provide aerospace engineering students with hands-on experience in designing and building aircraft.

Each year, participating student teams are given a set of design requirements and constraints. They must then create an aircraft that meets these specifications while optimizing factors such as payload capacity, range, and flight performance. The competition includes a series of challenges that test the aircraft's capabilities. May the best plane win!


7th Place

DBF 2014

9th Place

DBF 2019

20th Place

DBF 2018

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Competition Details

The 2023-2024 Design/Build/Fly Competition will celebrate its 28th year. Started in 1996 by the AIAA Applied Aerodynamics, Aircraft Design, Design Engineering and Flight Test Technical Committees as an opportunity for university students to apply real-world aircraft design experience by giving them the opportunity to validate their analytic studies.

Student teams will design, fabricate, and demonstrate the flight capabilities of an unmanned, electric powered, radio-controlled aircraft which can best meet the specified mission profile. The goal is a balanced design possessing good demonstrated flight handling qualities and practical and affordable manufacturing requirements while providing a high vehicle performance.

To encourage innovation and maintain a fresh design challenge for each new year’s participants, the design requirements and performance objective will be updated for each new contest year. The changes will provide new design requirements and opportunities, while allowing for application of technology developed by the teams from prior years.

Rules and Regulation