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Design Competitions

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 perform 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 reviewed by experts in the field who will provide constructive responses to the students.

This year’s competitions 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!


Winning Reports

View Reports (2016–2017) 
View Reports (2015–2016)

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Schedule

  • Letter of Intent submitted via online submission site – 10 February 2018 (11:59 p.m. Eastern Time)
  • Proposal submitted via online submission site – 10 May 2018 (11:59 p.m. Eastern Time)
  • Announcement of Winners (via email) – 31 August 2018 (11:59 pm Eastern Time)

Eligibility Requirements

  1. All student members are eligible and encouraged to participate. Team competitions will be groups of not more than ten student members per entry. Individual competitions will consist of only one student member per entry.
  2. Designs submitted must be the work of the students, but guidance may come from the Faculty/Project Advisor and should be accurately acknowledged.
  3. Design projects that are used as part of an organized classroom requirement are eligible and encouraged for competition.
  4. More than one design may be submitted from students at any one school.

Basis for Judging

The AIAA Technical Committee that developed the RFP will serve as the judges of the final reports. They will evaluate the reports using the categories and scoring listed below. The judges reserve the right to not award all three places. Judges’ decisions are final.

 

  1. Technical Content (35 points)
    This concerns the correctness of theory, validity of reasoning used, apparent understanding and grasp of the subject, etc. Are all major factors considered and reasonably accurate evaluation of these factors presented?

  2. Organization and Presentation (20 points)
    The description of the design as an instrument of communication is a strong factor in judging. Organization of written design, clarity, and inclusion of pertinent information are major factors.

  3. Originality (20 points)
    The design proposal should avoid standard textbook information, and should show independence of thinking or a fresh approach to the project. Does the method and treatment of the problem show imagination? Does the approach show an adaptation or creation of automated design tools?

  4. Practical Application and Feasibility (25 points)
    The proposal should present conclusions or recommendations that are feasible and practical, and not merely lead the evaluators into further difficult or insolvable problems.

Copyright

All submissions to the competition shall be the original work of the team members.

Authors retain copyright ownership of all written works submitted to the competition. By virtue of participating in the competition, team members and report authors grant AIAA non-exclusive license to reproduce submissions, in whole or in part, for all of AIAA’s current and future print and electronic uses. Appropriate acknowledgment will accompany any reuse of materials.

Conflict of Interest

It should be noted that it shall be considered a conflict of interest for a design professor to write or assist in writing RFPs and/or judging proposals submitted if (s)he will have students participating in, or that can be expected to participate in those competitions. A design professor with such a conflict must refrain from participating in the development of such competition RFPs and/or judging any proposals submitted in such competitions.

Awards

The prize money provided for the competitions is funded through the AIAA Foundation. The monetary awards may differ for each competition, with a maximum award of $1,000. The award amounts are listed below.

The top three design teams will be awarded certificates. One representative from the first place team may be invited by the Technical Committee responsible for the RFP to make a presentation of their design at an AIAA forum. A travel stipend may be available for some competitions, with a maximum travel stipend of $750 which may be used to help with costs for flight, hotel, or conference registration to attend an AIAA forum.

 

Aircraft Design Competitions

  • Graduate Team Aircraft - Advanced Pilot Training Aircraft
  • Undergraduate Team Aircraft – Hybrid-Electric General Aviation Aircraft (HEGAA)
    • 1st Place: $500; 2nd Place: $250; 3rd Place: $125
  • Undergraduate Individual Aircraft – Close Air Support Aircraft (A-10 Replacement)
    • 1st Place: $1,000; 2nd Place: $500; 3rd Place: $300

Engine Design Competition

  • Undergraduate Team Engine –Candidate Engines for a Next Generation Supersonic Transport
    • 1st Place: $500; 2nd Place: $250; 3rd Place $125

Space Transportation Competition

  • Undergraduate Team Space Transportation – Pluto Orbiter
    • 1st Place: $500; 2nd Place: $250; 3rd Place: $125

Space Design Competition

  • Undergraduate Team Space Design – Lunar Prospecting
    • 1st Place: $500; 2nd Place: $250; 3rd Place: $125

Structures Design Competition

  • Graduate Team Structures – Fuselage Design
  • Undergraduate Team Structures – Supersonic Wing
    • 1st Place: $500; 2nd Place: $250; 3rd Place: $125

2017–2018 Design Competitions

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Aircraft Design Competitions

 

Graduate Team Aircraft Design Competition
RFP: Advanced Pilot Training Aircraft
*For technical questions related to the RFP please contact David Levy at dwlevy2@gmail.com

 

Undergraduate Team Aircraft Design Competition
RFP: Hybrid-Electric General Aviation Aircraft (HEGAA)
*For technical questions related to the RFP please contact Matthew Orr at matthew.w.orr@boeing.com.

 

Undergraduate Individual Aircraft
RFP: Close Air Support Aircraft (A-10 Replacement)
*For technical questions related to the RFP please contact Steve Brandt at steve.brandt@usafa.edu

 

Engine Design Competition

 

Undergraduate Team Engine
RFP: Candidate Engines for a Next Generation Supersonic Transport
*For technical questions related to the RFP please contact Andrew Yatsko at a.j.yatsko@gmail.com.

 

Space Transportation Competition

 

Undergraduate Team Space Transportation
RFP: Pluto Orbiter
*For technical questions related to the RFP please contact Mike Fuller at mike.fuller@orbitalatk.com

 

Space Design Competition

 

Undergraduate Team Space Transportation
RFP: Lunar Prospecting
*For technical questions related to the RFP please contact Patrick Chai at patrick.r.chai@nasa.gov or William Tomek at William.g.tomek@nasa.gov

 

Structures Design Competition

 

Graduate Team Structures
RFP: Fuselage Design
*For technical questions related to the RFP please contact Craig Merrett at cmerrett@clarkson.edu

 

Undergraduate Team Structures
RFP: Supersonic Wing
*For technical questions related to the RFP please contact Craig Merrett at cmerrett@clarkson.edu

 

 

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