11 February 2010  Update

2009/10 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.

Contest Site:

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.

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 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 2009Entry 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 director@aiaadbf.org . 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:

AIAA Design/Build/Fly Contest/Report Judging
David Levy
Cessna Aircraft Company
5701 E. Pawnee
Wichita, KS 67218
316-206-6674 FAX

Aircraft Requirements - General

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.

      1. Verify all components adequately secured to vehicle. Verify all fasteners tight and have either safety wire, locktite (fluid) or nylock nuts. Clevises on flight controls must have an appropriate safety device to prevent their disengaging in flight.
      2. Verify propeller structural and attachment integrity.
      3. Visual inspection of all electronic wiring to assure adequate wire gauges and connectors in use.
      4. Radio range check, motor off and motor on.
      5. Verify all controls move in the proper sense.
      6. Check general integrity of the payload system.

Throttle closed
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


Mission Sequence:


Flight Line Order:

General Mission Specification and Notes:

Additional information is included in the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

Flight Course:

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.

Protest Procedure:

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.

Design Report:

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 must have the University and Team name (as listed on the ORIGINAL entry form, not team “nicknames”) on the cover page.
    Reports missing this identification information will not be scored.

  • Reports must be bound.  Simple spiral bindings are sufficient and preferred.  Paper clips, 3-ring binders, or clamps are NOT allowed.
    Stapled reports will be penalized 10 points
    Unbound reports will not be scored.

  • Report paper may be no larger than 8 ½ inches wide by 11 inches long with the exception of the drawing package.
    A4 paper may be used ONLY if it is cut to a maximum length of 11 inches.
    The drawing package may be on 11 inch long x maximum of 17 inch wide pages.
    A 10 point penalty will be given for the use of oversize paper.

  • Absolute maximum page count for the report is 60 pages, inclusive of all pages of any type including any form of front and back cover.
    For reports printed as double sided, blank back-sides of pages WILL be included in the page count with the specific exceptions of: 
    1) the back side of the very first  page or cover; 
    2) the back side of the very last page or cover;  
    3) the back side of 11 inch x 17 inch size drawing pages.
    Reports exceeding the maximum page count will be given a 10 point penalty for each additional page.


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.

Design Report

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.

Drawing Package

·    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.


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