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Design, Build, Fly Project Highlights

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Design, Build, Fly (DBF)/AIAA Student Competition/UA

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.423.1 - 14.423.15



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Paper Authors

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Lawrence Boyer Saint Louis University


Christopher Peck Saint Louis University

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Senior Aerospace Engineering student.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

AIAA Design, Build, and Fly Competition: The Design of A2 Abstract The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design, Build, and Fly Competition (DBF) brings students from around the nation to compete each year. The competition calls for an unmanned, remote controlled aircraft capable of meeting mission goals and design requirements. For the 2008-2009 competition, a surveillance/attack UAV capable of dropping wing stores and carrying a simulated centerline fuel tank is necessary. The team has chosen a dual engine aircraft with a seven foot wingspan and a gross empty weight of approximately 8.5 pounds. Multiple missions with different mission profiles will be flown requiring the aircraft to carry heavy loads and/or fly with unbalanced wing loadings. The competition will be scored based on the adequacy of flight mission completion and the proficiency of the written paper. The aircraft will be required to fly a maximum continuous distance of 14000 feet. Once the aircraft design was set and the mission was understood a risk analysis for a successful competition as well as for the aircraft itself was conducted. The most detrimental risks present are plane crash and pilot error due to their lack of mitigations. The completion of several mathematical processes and team presentations has instilled a generous amount of educational value in the team. Drawing on the full spectrum of engineering ideas acquired over the years has prepared the team for the competition and for future engineering explorations.

Nomenclature b = wing span c = chord CD = Drag Coefficient CDo = Profile and Friction Drag Coefficient CL = Lift Coefficient Emax = Max Lift to Drag Ratio e = Oswald Efficiency Factor HP/W = Horsepower to Weight Ratio K = Induced Drag Coefficient RAC = Total System Weight S = Wing Area SFC = System Complexity Factor W/S = Wing Loading I. Introduction The AIAA Design, Build, and Fly (DBF) Competition brings schools from around the world to compete. Each year the teams design, fabricate, and demonstrate the flight capabilities of an unmanned, electric powered, radio controlled aircraft in order to meet a specified mission profile. This year the competition calls for a surveillance/attack UAV. The capabilities of the aircraft include carrying a large simulated fuel tank and four Estes rockets. There will be five stages of judging for the contest: 1) Written paper. 2) Speed of assembly. 3) Ferry flight with simulated fuel tank empty. 4) Surveillance flight with simulated fuel tank full. 5) Rocket release flight with unbalanced wing loading. There are also certain requirements the aircraft must meet including no more than a 40 amp current draw, maximum take off gross weight of less than 55 pounds, and maximum take off distance of 100 feet. Using these guidelines as a basis for the engineering of the aircraft, the team will build a UAV using an innovative design based on different concepts already in practice as well as unique concepts developed by the team [1]. II. Aircraft Requirements The most important preliminary step in designing an aircraft is developing an understanding of the aircraft requirements. The majority of the requirements for this competition are set by AIAA itself. This year, the aircraft must meet the following requirements set by AIAA along with several requirements put in place by the team. It must be a fixed wing, electric powered aircraft, have a maximum gross take off weight of 55 pounds and be able to take off within 100 feet. Each electric motor is limited to a 40 amp current draw which can be supplied by battery

Boyer, L., & Peck, C. (2009, June), Design, Build, Fly Project Highlights Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5305

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