31 Oct 11
Rules and Vehicle Design
Initial Rules Posting: 19 Aug 2011
Latest Update: 4 Oct 2011
Entry Deadline: 31 Oct 2011
The contest rules may be augmented/supplemented at any time during the competition.
Following the entry deadline Q&A and rules changes will be e-mailed to each team's contact e-mail address.
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 2012 FAQ, and 2012 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.
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 an AIAA conference. The team with the best Report Score will receive a $100 prize from the Design Engineering Technical Committee.
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. 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 in Wichita, KS. Details on the contest site and schedule will be sent to registered teams early in the fly-off year. You can check on historical weather conditions at www.weatherbase.com or www.weatherunderground.com.
Teams are advised to check with their airlines on what materials they will be allowed to bring both to and from the contest site. Hazmat items like paints, thinners, glues may need to be purchased locally and PROPERLY disposed of following the contest.
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 provide qualified pilots at the contest on an as-available basis to assist teams who are unable to have their pilot attend.
Each educational institution may submit one (1) team entry. The team members may be changed during the contest period, so schools may use an internal selection process to determine their final design and team members prior to the written report submission and fly-off. For schools with multiple campuses in different cities/parts of the state, each campus will be considered as a separate entity.
The number of entries is limited to a maximum of 100 teams. If more than the maximum number of team entries is received during the submission period a random selection will be used by the judges to down-select to the final team list.
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 5 PM US East Coast Time on 31 October 2011. Entry forms may not be submitted before 15 October.
The DBF entry form is different from the ones used for other AIAA student competitions. The DBF entry form 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 ALL information requested in the form, incomplete forms will be returned for correction and may miss the deadline You may only submit the form once so be sure all supplied information is included/correct the first time. Incomplete entry forms will not be accepted.
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.
Design reports must ARRIVE at the Chief of Scoring address by 5 pm local time (at the report delivery address) on 28 February 2012. 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. Submission of reports electronically (no hard copy required) is under review. Report submission requirements may be modified and teams notified no later than 15 January 2012.
The contest is scheduled for 13-15 April 2012. The competition is anticipated to run from 10AM to 7PM on Friday, 8AM to 7PM on Saturday (provided sufficient daylight remains for safe flight) and 8AM to 5PM Sunday. A final contest schedule will be e-mailed to the teams prior to the contest date. 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.
Tech inspections will begin on Friday and will be available as required on Saturday and Sunday..
To help streamline the contest flow and maximize opportunities for each team to get their flights in the Tech inspections will be conducted in the same order as the flight rotation (which is based on report scores) so that the first teams inspected will be the first teams in the flight queue. Teams may use the sequence to help estimate when they need to arrive at the contest site to make sure they do not miss their slot in the first tech inspection rotation.
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 known, 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:
Chief of Scoring:Tom ZickuhrCessna Aircraft CompanyMS C52617 S Hoover RoadWichita, KS 67215316-517-1810
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 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 20 Amp current draw by means of a 20 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.
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
The aircraft must remain substantially the same as documented in the report (for example you can not change a flying wing design to a conventional tail design). You may make small modifications to the design to improve flight performance after the report submission (one example would be changing a control surface size).
Aircraft Requirements - Safety
All vehicles will undergo a safety inspection by a designated contest safety inspector prior to being allowed to make any competition flight. All decisions of the safety inspector are final. Safety inspections will include the following as a minimum.
To speed the tech inspection process each team must present a signed Pre-Tech and First-Flight Certification when called to begin their on-site tech inspection. Teams may not begin the on-site tech inspection without a completed certification. The Pre-Tech and First-Flight Certification sheet is available on the contest website.
The Pre-Tech must be conducted by, and signed off by, a non team member RC pilot or the team faculty advisor. The Pre-Tech will cover the same safety of flight requirements as the on-site tech inspection and will assist teams in making sure they are ready and able to pass the on-site tech inspection the first time. An expanded First-Flight requirement, which also must be signed off by a non team member RC pilot or the team faculty advisor, requires demonstration of a complete flight including take-off, flying a minimum flight pattern, and landing in a pre-designated location without damage to the aircraft. The non team member RC pilot who signs the inspection and flight certifications may be the same as a team's non-student contest pilot.
Full up elevator
Full right rudder
Full right 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. In the event of a tie Report Score will take precedence over Flight Score as a tie-breaker.
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 / Sqrt(RAC)
The total flight score is the sum of the individual mission flight scores: Total Flight Score = M1 + M2 + M3
The RAC is the maximum empty weight measured after each successful scoring flight: RAC = Max(EW1, EW2, EW3)
Where EWn is the post flight weight with the payload removed.
Mission Task Matrix:
Small Passenger Aircraft
Battery pack(s) maximum weight limit is 1-1/2 lb.
Teams will be allowed a maximum of 4 flight attempts or 3 successful scoring flights. Once a mission has a successful scoring flight it may NOT be repeated to try to improve the score.
All payloads must be secured sufficiently to assure safe flight without possible variation of aircraft cg during flight.
All payloads must be carried fully internal to the aircraft mold lines.
Assembly/flight line crew is limited to pilot, observer and 1 ground crew.
- The aircraft will enter the assembly area with the payload for mission 2 and 3 uninstalled.
- Payload components for mission 2 and 3 will be weighed and verified.
- The team will have a total of 5 minutes to load the payload and checkout the aircraft systems as fully functional.
- There is no work allowed on the aircraft after the loading/checkout time.
- The RC receiver should be able to be turned on externally, you will not be allowed to re-open the payload compartment after the loading/checkout time to turn on the receiver.
- Only the assembly crew member, pilot and pilot assistant may go to and enter the staging box.
- After the checkout is complete the crew member may be swapped for a different launcher/retriever crew member if desired.
- 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.
- Aircraft must be designed to be capable of performing all required missions
Specifically this requires that:.
- Must show that all payloads fit in the aircraft during the tech inspection
- Must pass the wing tip load test with the heaviest mission payload
- The initial upwind turn on the first lap of each mission will occur after passing the turn judge (signaled by raising a flag). The aircraft must remain in unaided visual control distance of the pilot at all times. The Flight Line Judge may require turns to be made to remain in a safe visual control range at his discretion.
Aircraft will use ground rolling take-off and landing
Take-off distance is 100 ft. Aircraft must be off the ground and remain off the ground prior to the marked limit.
The aircraft must complete a successful landing at the end of each mission for the mission to receive a score. A successful landing is outlined in the general mission specification section below.
Mission 1 - Ferry Flight
Maximum number of complete laps within a 4 minute flight time
- A lap is complete when the aircraft passes over the start/finish line in the air
- Mission score M1= 1 + N_Laps/6
- Time starts when the throttle is advanced for the (first) take-off (or attempt)
- Mission 2 - Passenger Flight
- 3 Lap payload flight.
- Payload will be 8 simulated passengers
- Simulated passengers are 1" x 1" x 5" aluminum blocks. Blocks must be rectangular, edges may be deburred, chamfered or sanded to remove sharp edges.
- The total passenger load must weigh at least 3.75 lbs as recorded on the official contest scale
- Simulated Passengers must be situated with long dimension vertical when aircraft is in flight.
- There must be at least 1/2" open space fore/aft around/between each passenger and at least 1" space side-to-side between passengers or columns of passengers.
- It is not required to have a space between the passenger nearest the outside of the aircraft and the aircraft body unless the passengers are in a single column in which case the 1" open space must be present on one side (only) of the passenger column.
- If passengers are in a double deck arrangement there must be a structural "floor" separating the levels which must not contact the "top" of the passengers on the lower deck
- Reasonable provisions for passenger "seats"/restraints may protrude within the specified open space area.
- Mission score M2=1.5 + 3.75/Flight_Weight (lbs)
- Aircraft will be weighed to obtain the Flight_Weight immediately after completion of a successful flight.
- Mission 3 - Time to Climb
- Single take-off and climb to 100 m altitude.
- Payload will be the team supplied "Time End Indicating System" as simulated cargo.
- Mission score M3= 2 + sqrt( T_avg/T_team) T_team is the time from advancing the throttle for the initial take-off (or attempt) to altitude.
- T_avg is the average time to climb of all teams getting a successful score for Mission 3.
- The "Time End Indicating System" will consist of:
- A team designed and fabricated water tank with a minimum capacity of 2L.
- The water tank will be fitted with a servo-operated "dump" valve
- The water tank may not be pressurized but must be vented to the atmosphere. A "pitot" style vent is encouraged.
- The system must be designed to release the stored water through an outlet located on the lower exterior surface of the aircraft
- The resulting water plume will be utilized by the ground based contest timing officials to indicate when the aircraft has reached the required altitude
- It is the team's responsibility to design the system to provide a water plume sufficient (large a volume and flow rate) to be seen by the starting line judges when the aircraft is at any location on the flight course. If the water is not dumped or is not adequate to be seen to stop the time the mission will be forfeited.
- The "Time End Indicating System" will actuate the water release using a Soaring Circuits ( http://www.soaringcircuits.com ) CAM- f3q (aero tow model) altimeter circuit.
- Information on the CAM-f3q system is available here.
- Only the 100m/150m/200m model is allowed.
- The CAM must be installed inside the fuselage forward of the main (largest) wing. The fuselage must have a minimum of 3x 1/8" holes directly above the CAM and on the fuselage top centerline to vent the CAM to the atmosphere.
- The aircraft must not be designed to intentionally create a low pressure area at the CAM device.
- Information on obtaining the CAM-f3q will be sent to registered teams following the close of the entries.
- The water tank will be filled with 2L of water from a plastic soda bottle during the 5 min assembly period.
There must be no loss of water between when the aircraft is loaded in the assembly area and when transiting to the staging area and to the flight line.
Flight Line Order:
A flight order list will be generated and emailed to the teams on the Wednesday prior to the fly-off weekend. 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.
Report scores will be available following the pilot briefing at the start of the contest (they will not be included with the rotation sequence e-mail).
There will be four staging box positions near the flight line.
If you are not ready to enter 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 team's responsibility to monitor the progress of the contest and decide when they need to be ready to enter an open spot in the staging box. A contest official will be available to help teams in entering the staging box.
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 flight 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 ground crew.
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.
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. Protests submitted but not upheld by the judges may be given a penalty of the loss of one flight score to the team submitting the protest. 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 must be one and one half line spacing, 10-pt Arial font. Tables and figures 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.
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: “2012DBF_[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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