AIAA Announces 2023 Design/Build/Fly (DBF) Competition Winners Written 16 April 2023



27th Annual AIAA DBF Winning Teams. | Credit: AIAA–©

April 16, 2023 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) today announced the winners of the 27th Annual AIAA Design/Build/Fly (DBF) Competition:

  • First Place ($3,000): RWTH Aachen University, Germany
  • Second Place ($2,000): University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Third Place ($1,500): Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Best Report Score ($100): University of Washington, Seattle

The complete 2023 DBF Competition results are posted online.  

This year marks the largest ever DBF Competition flyoff participation, with 868 university students on 81 teams attending onsite. The flyoff event was hosted by AIAA Corporate Member Raytheon in Tucson, Ariz. Teams from 14 countries, including 27 US states and the District of Columbia participated in the full DBF Competition, including submitting design reports and attending the flyoff.

This year’s flight objective was to design, build, and test an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to conduct surveillance and jamming missions for electronic warfare. More details about the mission requirements are available on the DBF website:

“Design/Build/Fly is a highlight of the year,” said Dan Dumbacher, AIAA executive director. “Aerospace trains us to adapt to the unexpected. It’s a great lesson for students as they prepare to enter this vibrant and meaningful field. Congratulations to the winning teams and all the teams that made it here to the DBF flyoff! The lessons learned and connections made here will be the basis for their future careers.”

Russ Althof, director of the DBF Organizing Committee, said, “We owe our thanks for the success of the DBF competition to the efforts of many volunteers from Raytheon Technologies, Textron Aviation, and the AIAA sponsoring technical committees: Applied Aerodynamics, Aircraft Design, Flight Test, and Design Engineering. These volunteers collectively set the rules for the contest, publicize the event, gather entries, judge the written reports, and judge the flyoff in Tucson.”

The 2024 AIAA DBF Competition will be held in April 2024 and hosted in Wichita, Kan., by Textron.

Media Contact: Rebecca B. Gray,, 804-397-5270 cell

About AIAA
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, or follow AIAA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.