University of Southern California Wins 18th Annual Student Design/Build/Fly Competition Written 16 April 2014


18th Event Drew 73 Teams from 29 States and 15 Countries

April 16, 2014 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation congratulates the winning teams in the 2013–2014 Cessna Aircraft Company/Raytheon Missile Systems/AIAA Foundation Student Design/Build/Fly (DBF) Competition, held April 11–13 at Cessna Aircraft Company’s Cessna Field, Wichita, Kan. This year’s competition brought together 73 teams from 29 states and 15 countries, making it the largest DBF competition yet held. There were 750 people at this year’s event.

The team from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif., won the event’s $2,500 first-place prize, scoring 407.24 points. The team from the University of California – Irvine, Calif., received the $1,500 second-place prize, scoring 352.86 points. The team from San Jose State University,San Jose, Calif., received the $1,000 third-place prize, scoring 326.37 points. The team from the University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia, was the highest placing foreign team, placing fourth overall, scoring 256.76 points. AIAA Executive Director Sandra Magnus and Cessna’s Senior Vice President of Engineering Michael Thacker presented the winning teams with their prizes.

“Design, Build, Fly is a great event! It was wonderful to see so many students, from all over the world, out there testing their designs in some pretty challenging winds,” said AIAA Executive Director Sandra Magnus. “I thought everyone did a great job and there was an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm evident during the whole weekend. Looking forward to seeing everyone again next year!”

“The Design/Build/Fly contest is an Engineering Design competition intended to help university students develop real-world engineering skills,” said DBF Contest Director David W. Levy, principal engineer, aerosciences flight support, Textron Aviation. “They have to demonstrate, at the fly-off, that their aircraft can actually meet the goals of the mission. The lessons they learn about unforeseen issues along the way will serve them well later in their careers. I’m always impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm that the students show at the fly-off. Many thanks to Cessna, Raytheon, and AIAA for their continued support.”,

Now in its 18th year, the DBF competition encourages and recognizes excellence in aerospace engineering skills at the undergraduate and graduate levels by challenging teams to design and fabricate a radio-controlled aircraft conforming to strict guidelines, submit a written report about the aircraft’s design, and fly their aircraft over a defined course while carrying a payload, landing it without damage. This year, the flight segments were: a “rough field” taxi, a ferry flight, a maximum load flight, and an emergency medical mission. Each of the scoring missions had different payloads and flight expectations that the aircraft had to completely fulfill before receiving a score. Final results of the competition were based on each team’s score on its written design report combined with its scores from the flight opportunities.

Official results and rankings of all participants will be available from the DBF website after final verification and validation. For more information about the AIAA Foundation DBF Competition, please visit

About the AIAA Foundation
The AIAA Foundation seeks to “make it exciting, make it empowering, and make it fun.” That simple, compelling philosophy drives the Foundation’s commitment to math, science, and technology education. The AIAA Foundation offers a wealth of resources to support educators from K–12 through university: scholarships, classroom grants, design competitions, and student conferences, improving scientific literacy and advancing the arts and sciences of aerospace. For more information on the AIAA Foundation and its programs for students, teachers and professionals, please visit

About AIAA
AIAA is the largest aerospace professional society in the world, serving a diverse range of more than 35,000 individual members from 80 countries, and 100 corporate members. AIAA members help make the world safer, more connected, more accessible, and more prosperous. For more information, visit



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