The design requirements and performance objective of the AIAA DBF competition will be updated annually to encourage innovation and maintain a fresh design challenge. The changes will provide new design requirements and opportunities, while allowing for application of technology developed by the teams from prior years. Here is a collection of aircraft we designed and built from previous years.

2019 Model: Warhawk

For this year’s AIAA DBF competition, the requirements were to design and manufacture a multi-purpose aircraft to support carrier operations. The aircraft must be capable to carry at least 4 attacking stores mounted on the wing or below the fuselage and to release the stores remotely. In addition to
the bomb-releasing mechanism, the aircraft must possess an automatic wing-folding mechanism, in which the main wings must be unfolded without human assistance during ground operation in three flight missions, which requires the aircraft to pass through a fixed dimension staging box completely without touching the box.

2018 Model: DragonFly

For this year’s AIAA DBF competition, the objective was to simulate the design of a dual-purpose regional and business aircraft with line replaceable units (LRUs) for easy serviceability. The competition aircraft must be able to complete three flight missions as well as a ground mission of LRU removal and replacement. The payloads for this year’s contest were randomly selected Super Balls (passengers) and team-built payload blocks (cargo). The first flight mission, a demonstration flight, consisted of flying three laps without payloads within 5 minutes. The second flight mission, a short-haul flight carrying passengers, required the plane to complete three competition laps carrying a team-specified number of passengers as fast as possible. The third flight mission, a long-haul of passengers and payload, consisted of flying as many laps as possible within ten minutes while carrying a team-specified number of passengers and weight of cargo. Lastly, the ground mission consisted of two stages of timed LRU removal and replacement.

2017 Model: DBF17

The objective of this year’s competition was to simulate the design of a tube-launched UAV that transitions from a stowed configuration and self-locks into a flight configuration prior to completing three hand-launched flight missions in Tucson, AZ. In addition to designing the competition aircraft, the team must also design a launch tube to store the aircraft in its stowed configuration and protect the aircraft in the ground mission. The payloads for this year’s competition were regulation-sized hockey pucks (3 in. diameter, 6 oz. weight). The first flight mission, a display flight, consisted of flying three competition laps with no payloads within five minutes. The second flight mission, a speed flight, required the plane to fly three competition laps with three payloads as fast as possible. The third flight mission, an endurance flight, consisted of flying as many laps as possible within five minutes while carrying a team-specified number of payloads. Lastly, the ground mission consisted of three drop tests with the aircraft fully loaded and stowed in the launch tube. The fully loaded tube was dropped three times, once on each end cap and once horizontally, all from a height of 12 in (0.3 m). Although the performance in the ground mission would not directly affect the total score, the tube dimensions and weight heavily affect the rated aircraft cost (RAC), which negatively affects total score. We ranked 17 out of 95 teams in Tucson. We also ranked second among teams from Asia this year and this was the best record in HKUST Aero Team history.