Design/Build/Fly Competition

2022 Design/Build/Fly Flyoff winning teams

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 undergraduate and graduate 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.

Visit DBF Site

AIAA Foundation/Cessna Aircraft/Raytheon Missile Systems Design, Build, Fly Competition

The AIAA Foundation Design/Build/Fly (DBF) competition is a partnership between the AIAA Foundation, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Raytheon Missile Systems. This competition provides students an opportunity to design and build a radio controlled aircraft to perform specific missions. Participants who complete an entry form and submit a report on time are invited to bring their plane to a central location for a flyoff. Winners are determined by a combination of their report score and their flight score. For more information on the DBF competition, please visit

The AIAA through the Applied Aerodynamics, Aircraft Design, Design Engineering and Flight Test Technical Committees and the AIAA Foundation invite all university students to participate in the competition. The contest will provide a real-world aircraft design experience for engineering students 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 years 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.

Team Requirements:

All team members (except for a non-student pilot) must be full time students at an accredited University or College and student members of the AIAA.  At least 1/3 of the team members must consist of Freshman, Sophomores or Juniors. The pilot must be an AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) member. Teams may use a non-university member for the pilot if desired. We will provide qualified pilots at the contest on an as-available basis to assist teams who are unable to have their pilot attend.

Team members may be updated/changed at any time during the contest but must always comply with the 1/3 rule.

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