11 February 2010 Update
Rules and Vehicle Design
Rules Posting: 17 Aug 2009 - Updated 28 Sept 2009
Entry Deadline: 31 Oct 2009
The contest rules may be augmented/supplemented at any time during the competition.
During the period from the rules posting up to the entry deadline the FAQ will be used to document any changes.
Following the entry deadline changes will be e-mailed to each teams contact e-mail address.
Questions may be submitted at any time, answers will be provided ONLY as outlined above.
Rules are not FINAL until 31 Oct Entry Deadline
The AIAA through the Applied Aerodynamics, Aircraft Design, Design Engineering and Flight Test Technical Committees and the AIAA Foundation invites all university students to participate in the Cessna Aircraft Company/Raytheon Missile Systems - Student Design/Build/Fly 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 that 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 year, the design requirements and performance objectives 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.
Check the rules package carefully as items and approaches that were legal in past years may not be legal for this contest year. Only the contents of this Rules package, the 2009/10 FAQ, and 2009/10 Q&A documents hold bearing on the requirements and/or allowances for the current contest year. It is the responsibility of the teams to know and follow all provided rules, the FAQ, and all contest day briefings.
Questions may be addressed to the contest director as outlined in the communications section below.
Cash prizes are $2500 for 1st, $1500 for 2nd and $1000 for 3rd place. The winning team will be invited to present their design at the AIAA/U.S. Air Force T&E Days conference.
Students must design, document, fabricate, and demonstrate the aircraft they determine to be capable of achieving the highest score on the specified mission profile(s). Flight scores will be based on the demonstrated mission performance obtained during the contest.
Each team must also submit a written Design Report. A maximum of 100 points will be awarded for the team design report. Scores for the written reports will be announced at the beginning of the fly-off.
The overall team score is a combination of the Design Report and Flight scores. The team with the highest overall team score will be declared the winner.
Scores will be FINAL 7 working days after the completion of the contest. This period will allow for review of the scores in a timely fashion following the contest.
All submitted reports are the property of AIAA, Cessna and Raytheon and may be published or reproduced at their discretion.
Host for the competition will be Cessna Aircraft Company. The fly-off is planned to be held near their facilities in Wichita, KS. You can check on historical weather conditions at www.weatherbase.com or www.weatherunderground.com.
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 also provide qualified pilots on the contest day for any teams who are unable to have their pilot attend.
There may be a maximum of two (2) teams entered from any one educational institution. For schools with multiple campuses in different cities/parts of the state, each campus will be considered as a separate entity.
Past Year Reports:
Winning team design reports from prior contest years are posted on the contest website as examples. Note that the formatting and content has evolved from one year to the next. Only the rules noted in this document apply for the current year. The top scoring report(s) from this year’s contest will be placed on the contest web site for the next year’s competition.
Teams may solicit and accept sponsorship in the form of funds or materials and components from commercial organizations. All design, analysis and fabrication of the contest entry is the sole responsibility of the student team members.
A completed electronic entry must be RECEIVED by the contest administrator by 5 PM US East Coast Time on 31 October 2009. Entry forms may not be submitted before 1 October.
Note: The DBF entry form is different from the one used for other AIAA student competitions. The DBF entry form is a MS-Word file and can be found on the contest web site. It must be submitted by e-mail to the contest administrator at email@example.com . Be sure to include the Phone and FAX number for your team advisor and at least one student contact so we may reach you in case of any last minute problems or changes. All teams are required to provide two point-of-contact e-mail addresses with their contest application, one of which must be the teams advisor. It is the teams responsibility to make sure the e-mail contact addresses they supply remain active during the entire period from entry to the close of the competition, as e-mail will be the primary means to provide information and updates. Do not use an internal team correspondence e-mail list server as your point of contact e-mail address.
Please Note: The Entry Name may not be changed once the form is submitted, but must be retained and used on all reports and correspondence during the competition year.
Design reports must ARRIVE at the Chief of Scoring address by 5 pm local time (at the report delivery address) on 2 March 2010. Reports will be judged “as received”, no corrections/additions/page changes will be made by the organizers so check your reports carefully before sending them. Teams must submit 5 hard copies of the report (printing details are outlined in the report section at the bottom of this document) AND one electronic copy in PDF. Only the hard copies will be used for judging.
The contest is scheduled for 16-18 April 2010. The competition will run from Noon to 5PM on Friday, and 8AM to 5PM on Saturday and Sunday. Final awards will be presented at the end of Sunday's competition. All teams should plan their travel so that they may stay for the awards presentations on Sunday.
Please note that tech inspections will be available on Friday 16 April. All teams are encouraged to be prepared to have your plane inspected on Friday. Inspections will also be available on Saturday, but waiting until Saturday to go through tech may mean that your team will miss one or more rounds through the flight sequence. If we have a full turnout you may not be able to get in a full set of scoring flights unless you are "ready to fly" at every opportunity.
Note: All schedule deadlines are strictly enforced.
Late entries will NOT be accepted. Late report submissions will NOT be judged. Teams who do not submit the required written reports will NOT be allowed to fly. It is the team’s responsibility to assure that all deadlines are know, understood and met.
Update: The AIAA mail servers will not send e-mail to @hotmail.com addresses. Do NOT use a hotmail address for any of your team contacts or e-mail. (31Oct2009)
The contest administration will maintain a World Wide Web site containing the latest information regarding the contest schedules, rules, and participating teams. The contest web site is located at:
Questions regarding the contest, schedules, or rules interpretation may be sent to the contest administrator by e-mail at:
Questions received prior to the official entry submission date will not be answered directly. Select questions “may” be answered in the FAQ prior to the entry submission date. Official questions and answers received following the entry submission date will be provided by e-mail to all teams of record.
Written reports should be sent to the Chief of Scoring at:
Design/Build/Fly Contest/Report Judging
Cessna Aircraft Company
5701 E. Pawnee
Wichita, KS 67218
Aircraft Requirements - General
The aircraft may be of any configuration except rotary wing or lighter-than-air.
No structure/components may be dropped from the aircraft during flight.
No form of externally assisted take-off is allowed. All energy for take-off must come from the on-board propulsion battery pack(s).
Must be propeller driven and electric powered with an unmodified over-the-counter model electric motor. May use multiple motors and/or propellers. May be direct drive or with gear or belt reduction.
Motors may be any commercial brush or brushless electric motor.
For safety, each aircraft will use a commercially produced propeller/blades. Must use a commercially available propeller hub/pitch mechanism. Teams may modify the propeller diameter by clipping the tip, and may paint the blades to balance the propeller. No other modifications to the propeller are allowed. Commercial ducted fan units are allowed.
Motors and batteries will be limited to a maximum of 40 Amp current draw by means of a 40 Amp fuse (per motor or battery pack) in the line from the positive battery terminal to the motor controller. Only ATO or blade style plastic fuses may be used. (e.g. "Maxi" size Slow Blow, 1.15"x0.85". Available online www.Mcmaster.com part #7460K51)
Must use over the counter NiCad or NiMH batteries. For safety, battery packs must have shrink-wrap or other protection over all electrical contact points. The individual cells must be commercially available, and the manufacturers label must be readable/documented (i.e. clear shrink wrap preferred). All battery disconnects must be "fully insulated" style connectors.
Maximum propulsion battery pack weight is defined in the mission rules section. This battery pack must power propulsion systems only. Radio Rx and servos MUST be on a separate battery pack. Batteries may not be changed or charged between sorties during a flight period.
Aircraft and pilot must be AMA legal. This means that the aircraft TOGW (take-off gross weight with payload) must be less than 55-lb, and the pilot must be a member of the AMA.
Since this is an AMA sanctioned event, the team must submit proof that the aircraft has been flown prior to the contest date (in flight photo) to the technical inspection team. Contest supplied qualified pilots will be available to teams who require them.
Aircraft Requirements - Safety
All vehicles will undergo a safety inspection by a designated contest safety inspector prior to being allowed to make any competition or non-competition (i.e. practice) flight. All decisions of the safety inspector are final. Safety inspections will include the following as a minimum.
Full up elevator
Full right rudder
Full right (or left) aileron
Full Flaps down (if so equipped)
The radio Fail Safe provisions will be strictly enforced.
In the event that, due to time or facility limitations, it is not possible to allow all teams to have the maximum number of flight attempts, the contest committee reserves the right to ration and/or schedule flights. The exact determination of how to ration flights will be made on the contest day based on the number of entries, weather, and field conditions.
Each team's overall score will be computed from their Written Report Score and Total Flight Score using the formula:
SCORE = Written Report Score * Total Flight Score
The total flight score is the sum of the individual mission flight scores.
Mission Task Matrix:
Baseball Team Plane
Battery packs must weigh less than 4 lbs
Teams will be allowed a maximum of 5 flight attempts or 4 successful scoring flights whichever comes first.
All flight hardware must fit in a 2’x2’x4’ Case.
The case must include everything the team brings to the staging area.
This includes the aircraft, radio Transmitter, safety fuse(s) and tools.
If you forget something you must leave the staging area and forfeit the flight attempt.
The case will be checked for size by placing it inside a contest supplied “baggage checker” each time the team enters the staging area for a flight attempt.
There are no exceptions to the Case fitting in the baggage checker for handles, hinges, screw heads, or other protrusions.
The case can be constructed of any means or materials but it must not sustain damage/tears during the missions or the flight attempt will be forfeited.
The case may NOT use tape, magnets, or Velcro in any way.
The aircraft may NOT use tape, magnets or Velcro in any way with the following specific exceptions:
Velcro may be used to secure the motor speed controller
Velcro may be used to secure the flight and receiver batteries.
All payloads must be secured sufficiently to assure no movement of payload elements or variation of aircraft cg during flight.
The payload restraints may NOT use tape, magnets or Velcro in any way.
Assembly crew and ground crew size is limited to 3 people.
All payloads for this years contest will be provided by the contest administration.
- "Bats" will be between 26 and 30 inches long and weigh between 16 and 20 ounces.
Bats will have a nominal diameter of 2". Bats will not be tapered.
Each Bat will have a 3/16 inch hole located at the cg. The team's bat mounting system MUST include a pin that registers in the hole to assure the bat can not slide in the mount along it's length.
Bat mounting systems must securely restrain the Bat in all six degrees of freedom.
- "Softballs" will be ASA Girls Fast Pitch 11" (reference circumference) and 12" (reference circumference) Softballs.
- The fully loaded and secured Case will be weighed each time the team enters the staging area for a flight.
ALL mission scores will use a single weight value which will be the heaviest weight recorded on any flight attempt made by the team during the contest weekend.
- After entering the staging area the team will assemble and flight check their aircraft prior to being called to the flight line.
- The assembly and checkout must be completed in less than 5 minutes.
- The team may not work on the aircraft after the 5 minute assembly and checkout time.
- Only the assembly crew, pilot and pilot assistant may be in the staging area during the assembly.
- After the assembly is complete the members of the assembly crew may be swapped for members of the ground crew (if different).
- When called to the flight line the team must bring the aircraft and case to the designated areas.
- Once at the flight line the Mission will be selected.
- Missions will be flown in order. A new mission can not be flown until the team has obtained a successful score for the preceding mission(s).
A repeat of a previously successful mission can be flown in any order.
- Total Flight Score will be the sum of the teams best score for each mission, Mission #1, Mission #2, and Mission #3
Individual mission scores (Mission #1 and Mission #2) will be factored by the weight of the complete flight system in it’s Case.
The weight scoring factor W_1= W_ref/W_team where W_ref is the lightest weight recorded for any team that successfully completes Mission #1 and W_team is the heaviest weight recorded for that team from ANY mission attempt.
The weight scoring factor W_2= W_ref/W_team where W_ref is the lightest weight recorded for any team that successfully completes Mission #2 and W_team is the heaviest weight recorded for that team from ANY mission attempt..
Take-off distance for all missions is 100 ft.
All wheels must be off the runway, and remain off the runway, by the marked take-off line.
The aircraft must complete a successful landing at the end of a mission for the mission to receive a score.
A successful landing is outlined in the general mission specification section below.
2 Lap ferry flight
- Mission score M1= T_1*W_1*50.
- T_1= t_ref/t_team where t_ref is the lowest time recorded for any team that successfully completes mission #1 and t_team is the mission #1 time recorded for that team.
- Flight time is from start of take-off (advancing the throttle) to completion of the second lap
- Second lap is complete when the aircraft passes over the start/finish line while still in the air
- Mission 2
- 3 Lap payload flight.
- Payload will be a random selection of from 6 to 10 Softballs.
Teams will roll dice until getting a number between 6 and 10.
They will then select the required number of balls from a blind bag, place them inside their Case
Note: The aircraft will not be inside the case when it is holding the Softball payload..
- Softballs will be supplied by the contest and will be a random mix of 11" and 12" sizes
- Softballs must be carried internal to the aircraft. Softballs must form a grid pattern and may not be staggered (overlapped).
- Mission score M2=T_2*W_2*100.
- T_2= t_ref/t_team where t_ref is the lowest time recorded for any team that successfully completes mission #2 and t_team is the mission #2 time recorded for that team.
- The aircraft will be "safed" (fuse removed) during the loading.
- Time will begin with the aircraft on the start/finish line and the payload placed inside the teams Case and the Case closed.
- Time will end when the team has finished loading the aircraft, closed the case, returned to the designated loading crew area, and calls “Stop”.
- After loading, the aircraft must start the flight portion of the mission with no additional team interaction other than installing the safety fuse and positioning the aircraft on the starting line.
- Mission 3
- 3 Lap payload flight
- Payload will be a random mix of "Bats".
- Bats will be supplied by the contest and will be of varied length and weight.
- Bats must be carried external to the aircraft.
- The number of "Bats" to be carried on the mission will be chosen by the team and may vary for each mission attempt.
- Mission score M3= T_3*F_bats*100.
- T_3= t_ref/t_team where t_ref is the lowest time recorded for any team that successfully completes mission #3 and t_team is the mission #3 time recorded for that team.
- F_bats=N_bats_team/N_bats_ref where N_bats_ref is the largest number of bats carried by any team that successfully completes mission #3 and N_bats_team is the number of bats carried by the team on that flight attempt.
N_bats must be at least 1 and no more than 5.
- Loading of the bats is not timed. The aircraft will be "safed" (fuse removed) during the loading.
- Flight time is from start of take-off (advancing the throttle) to completion of the third lap
- Third lap is complete when the aircraft passes over the start/finish line while still in the air
Flight Line Order:
A flight order list will be generated and posted at the beginning of flying on Saturday. Teams will always rotate in this order. The flight order will be repeated continuously.
The flight order list will carry over from Saturday to Sunday at what ever spot in the rotation it leaves off.
Each team’s position in the flight order will be determined from their written report score, highest report score goes first.
There will be four staging box positions near the flight line. While in the staging box teams can make any final preparations and checkout required prior to flight.
If you are not in place in a staging box when your rotation number comes up you will miss your opportunity for that rotation.
Note: We will not call teams to the staging box, it is the teams responsibility to monitor the progress of the contest and decide when they need to get ready to enter an open spot in the staging box. A contest official will be available to help teams in entering the staging box area.
Electing to enter one of the staging box positions on your turn in the rotation order will constitute using a flight attempt.
If you choose to leave the staging box for any reason you will forfeit that flight attempt.
If you go to the flight line and are not able to begin your takeoff when instructed you will forfeit that flight attempt.
General Mission Specification and Notes:
The aircraft propulsion system(s) must be "safed" (fuse removed) during any time when crew members are preparing/handling the aircraft.
Maximum flight support crew is: pilot, observer, and 3 ground crew.
Only the designated ground crew may load the aircraft payload. Pilot and observer may be members of the ground crew, provided total ground crew size remains 3 people.
Observer and all ground crew must be students. Only the pilot may be a non-student.
The upwind turn will be made after passing the upwind marker. The downwind turn will be made after passing the downwind marker. Upwind and downwind markers will be 500 ft from the starting line. Aircraft must be "straight and level" when passing the turn marker before initiating a turn.
Aircraft must land on the paved portion of the runway. Aircraft may "run-off" the runway during roll-out. Aircraft may not “bounce” off the runway.
After landing, aircraft will return to the starting line as outlined in the individual mission specifications.
Aircraft obtaining “significant” damage during landing will not receive a score for that flight. Determination of “significant” is solely at the discretion of the Flight Line Judge.
Flight altitude must be sufficient for safe terrain clearance and low enough to maintain good visual contact with the aircraft. Decisions on safe flight altitude will be at the discretion of the Flight Line Judge and all rulings will be final.
Additional information is included in the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).
The orientation (direction) of the flight course will be adjusted based on the prevailing winds as determined by the Flight Line Judge. The flight course will be positioned to maintain the greatest possible safety to personnel and facilities. The nominal flight course is shown in the Figure below.
Submitting a protest is a serious matter and will be treated as such. Teams may submit a protest to the Contest Administration at any time during the competition. Protests may not be submitted after the conclusion of the competition. Protests must be submitted in writing and signed by the team advisor, designees are not allowed for protest submissions. If the team advisor is not present, he may FAX a signed protest to the team for them to present. Protests may be posted for review at the decision of the administration.
Protests and penalties (up to disqualification from the contest for deliberate attempts to misinform officials, violate the contest rules, or safety infractions) will be decided by the Contest Administration. The decision of the Contest Administration is final.
Each team will submit a judged design report as outlined below and in the SCHEDULE section above.
Note: Reports must strictly adhere to the following requirements. Failure to meet requirements will result penalties that range from score reduction to elimination from the contest.
Reports will be scored on a 100 point basis following the guidelines outlined below.
All information used for scoring must be in the outlined sections, content that is out of sequence, including the drawing package, will be treated as missing and scored accordingly.
All reports should be at least one and one half line spacing, 10-pt Arial font. Tables and figures will also be at least 10-pt Arial font. Margins should be at least 1 inch on all sides. All figures and tables should be clear and readable for the judges. The reports will be judged on format and readability.
ALL items requested below should be present, easy to locate and identify, well documented and in the correct section for full scoring.
Examples of winning team design reports from prior contest years are posted on the contest website. Note that the formatting and content has changed from one year to the next. Prior year reports may not reflect or meet the rules listed for the current year.
Report scores will not be available prior to the contest weekend.
Protective pages (clear or otherwise) are not required and are a waste of money.
Reports are very durable. Please ship in envelopes. Boxes and bubble wrap are not required. We're going to ship them to the judges in envelopes. You won't be penalized if the shipper tears a cover. Remember. We throw them away when we're done.
Do Not Use Styrofoam Peanuts!!!
Do not ask for confirmation of receipt. Documentation to prove that your reports were shipped with guaranteed delivery by the deadline and proof that your email was sent well before the deadline are all that's required to prevent disqualification.
Report scoring is based on the reports AS SUBMITTED. Final proofing of the report printed copies (ALL) prior to submission is STRONGLY encouraged.
All section scores will include format, completeness and readability
1. Executive Summary: (10 points):
· Provide a summary description of your selected design and why it is the best solution to the specified mission requirements.
· Describe your key mission requirements and design features keyed to those requirements.
· Document the performance/capabilities of your system solution.
2. Management Summary (5 points):
· Describe the organization of the design team.
· Provide a chart of design personnel and assignment areas.
· Provide a milestone chart showing planned and actual timing of the design / fabrication / testing processes.
3. Conceptual Design (15 points):
· Describe mission requirements (problem statement).
· Translate mission requirements into design requirements.
· Review solution concepts/configurations considered.
· Describe concept weighting, selection process and results.
4. Preliminary Design (20 points):
· Describe design/analysis methodology
· Document design/sizing trades
· Describe/document mission model (capabilities and uncertainties)
· Provide estimates of the aircraft lift, drag and stability characteristics.
· Provide estimates of the aircraft mission performance.
5. Detail Design (30 points total. 15 points for discussion items, 15 points for drawing package):
· Document dimensional parameters of final design.
· Document structural characteristics/capabilities of final design.
· Document systems and sub-systems design/component selection/integration/architecture.
· Document Weight and Balance for final design. Must include a Weight & Balance table for the empty aircraft and with each of the possible payloads
· Document flight performance parameters for final design.
· Document mission performance for final design.
· 3-View drawing with dimensions.
· Structural arrangement drawing.
· Systems layout/location drawing.
· Payload(s) accommodation drawing(s).
6. Manufacturing Plan and processes (5 points):
· Document the process selected for manufacture of major components and assemblies of the final design.
· Detail the manufacturing processes investigated and the selection process/results.
· Include a manufacturing milestone chart showing scheduled and actual event timings.
7. Testing Plan (5 points):
· Detail testing objectives, schedules, and check-lists.
8. Performance Results (10 points):
· Describe the demonstrated performance of key subsystems and compare it to predictions from Section 5. Explain any differences and improvements made.
· Describe the demonstrated performance of your complete aircraft solution and compare it to predictions from Section5. Explain any differences and improvements made.
Design Report Electronic Copy
Each team must provide an electronic copy of their final design report in addition to the hard copies used for the report judging as outlined below.
Electronic copy must be RECEIVED by the same deadline as listed above for the written reports.
Electronic report files must be named: “2010DBF_[university]_[team name].PDF”
Electronic report must be a single file with all figures/drawings included in the proper report sequence in PDF format.
(Free PDF file conversion programs are available on the Internet, such as www.pdf995.com.)
Electronic reports should have all figures compressed to print resolution to minimize file size.
Electronic reports must be less than 20 MB in size (including encoding for e-mail transmission) and e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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