The AIAA Foundation sponsors design competitions every year. These competitions offer a great opportunity for students to participate in a simulated real-world problem, allowing students to gain experience and receive useful and constructive feedback from technical experts who sit on AIAA Technical Committees.
Several of the competitions allow students to do theoretical work and gain real-world insight into the design process. Whether students are designing an aircraft, engine, or space vehicle, they will go through all of the primary design steps involved in determining a solution to a Request for Proposal (RFP). This includes determining a hypothetical solution, testing the hypothesis, evaluating its effectiveness, possibly doing some cost analysis, and finally preparing a report that will be submitted in response to the RFP. These responses are then reviewed by experts in the field who will provide constructive responses to the students.
This year’s competitions (2014-2015) are listed below. Show the world you've got the right stuff in design, and you may win cash prizes while you're at it!
WIN, PLACE, and SHOW!
Undergraduate Individual Aircraft Design Competition
Uninhabited Long Range Strike Vehicle
Design provisions for the flight crew of combat aircraft place many constraints on the vehicle and its performance. Numerous cost and weight penalties are associated with systems that are necessitated only or largely by the presence of a human pilot including displays, switches, g-seats, g-suits, oxygen, pressurization, and other environmental control systems. The aircraft’s maneuver capabilities are limited by the pilot’s physiological limits such as g tolerance, susceptibility to disorientation, or even physical endurance. With pilots onboard, all aspects of the aircraft design process are strongly impacted. The aircraft size, shape, and configuration arrangement are affected.
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Undergraduate Team Aircraft Design Competition
Next Generation Strategic Airlift Military Transport
The strategic airlift capability of the armed forces is undergoing considerable modernization to extend the life and augment the overall performance of the current fleet. Just as this modernization has resulted in considerable mission performance improvements over the previous generation of aircraft, it is expected that the next generation will provide major improvements over the present one. This RFP is for the design of a next generation strategic airlift military transport with an assumed 2030 entry into service (EIS).
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Graduate Team Aircraft Design Competition
VSTOL Air Taxi
Considering the extensive amount of time people in metropolitan areas spend commuting to and from work each day, is there a solution using an aircraft to improve the quality of life of the US population? Specifically for example the New York and San Francisco metropolitan areas, there is significant congestion on roadways due to geographic bottlenecks. Many of these bottlenecks are cause by real estate limitations preventing the construction of more roads and by bridges and tunnels required to cross water. Rail solutions allow greater capacity, but the extensive infrastructure cost prevents these systems from becoming ubiquitous. Aviation is not constrained in the same way as surface transportation systems.
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Undergraduate Team Space Transportation Design
Design of Reusable Orbital Transfer Vehicle
Many recent space transportation studies suggest the use of Earth–Moon Lagrangian Points L1 or L2 as a gateway for Lunar, Near Earth Asteroid, and Mars exploration. The intent of the reusable Orbital Transfer Vehicle (OTV), which is the subject of this RFP is to support a Lagrangian Point Gateway Station hosting a Reusable Lunar Lander.
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Graduate/Undergraduate Design/Build/Fly Competition
Every year the AIAA Foundation with assistance from several AIAA Technical Committees and corporate sponsors Cessna Aircraft Company and Raytheon Missile Systems, sponsors a competition for students to design and build a remote-controlled aircraft to perform specific tasks. Students then come together to face off against each other in April. For specific information about the Design/Build/Fly Competition, please visit the DBF website. Rules, team lists, external resources, and the ongoing FAQ are all maintained there.
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Visit DBF website >
The AIAA Foundation also cosponsors a CanSat competition. This competition requires students to build a small satellite with telemetry that can be launched in a rocket several thousand feet in the air. Telemetry results and presentation determine the overall winner. For more information, please visit www.cansatcompetition.com.
Design Competitions typically have monetary prizes for winners. Prizes may vary in amount based on the competition type and the funding available. Additionally, first place winners may be invited to make a presentation at an AIAA Forum.
In general, Letters of Intent are due 31 January every year, and proposals are due in June. The exception is the Design/Build/Fly competition. See the DBF website for deadlines concerning the Design/Build/Fly Competition.
For more information on design competitions, please contact Rachel Andino: