The Aerospace System Design Lab Once Again Takes Home a Top Honor in AIAA Competition

The Aerospace System Design Lab Once Again Takes Home a Top Honor in AIAA Competition

Though denied a live competition, the design team from Georgia Tech's Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL) once again made it to the medal stand for the 24th annual AIAA/Textron Aviation/Raytheon Missile Systems Design/Build/Fly (DBF) Competition.

Originally scheduled to host a live fly-off 16–19 April in Wichita, Kansas, the full Design/Build/Fly competition was canceled to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19.  To highlight the design work of all entries, however, AIAA collected footage of many 2019–2020 teams flying their aircraft at home.

While the fly-off portion of the competition was canceled, the formal report portion did continue.

The 2019–2020 Report winners are:

  • First Place ($3,000 and $100 for Best Report Score): University of Southern California
  • Second Place ($2,000): Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Third Place ($1,500): University of Nevada, Las Vegas

“We at the School of Aerospace Engineering are proud of the Georgia Tech DBF team for placing second in the modified competition this year," said ASDL director Prof. Dimitri Mavris.

"This is an impressive feat, considering there were over 100 teams in the field of competition. That they won on the merit of the formal report is a credit to their technical excellence. While I know they were disappointed not to participate in the flyoff, I am sure they still learned a lot about airplane design and working as a team from the experience.”

Added AIAA executive director Dan Dumbacher:

“Aerospace trains us to adapt to the unexpected. It’s a good lesson for students as they enter this vibrant and meaningful field. I, for one, am enjoying the home videos of the teams flying their aircraft. Congratulations to the winning teams!”

DBF received 143 proposals and selected 113 to compete. Of the 113 teams selected, 101 submitted a formal report. The formal reports are scored for design as well as manufacturing and testing plans.

This year’s theme was a Banner Towing Bush Plane with a 5-foot maximum wing span. Separate missions included number of laps, number of passengers and luggage, and deploying a banner. More details about the mission requirements can be found on the DBF website.

“We owe our thanks for the success of the DBF competition to the efforts of many volunteers from Textron Aviation, Raytheon Missile Systems, and the AIAA sponsoring technical committees: Applied Aerodynamics, Aircraft Design, Flight Test, and Design Engineering," said Russ Althof, director of the DBF organizing committee. "These volunteers collectively set the rules for the contest, publicize the event, gather entries, judge the written reports, and in all other years, organize the fly-off.”