The rules for The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Design Build Fly (AIAA DBF) contest have been posted on the official website. This contest is a fun way from undergrads to apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world. My experience in the DBF gave me a new respect for what goes into the design and construction of air and spacecraft; the detail required for our RC airplane was mind blowing. I was able to learn things that I would have learned in later years. Older team members taught me how to use almost every machine in the machine shop and how to use certain materials. This is why the DBF is a great opportunity for engineers and why every student engineer should try to enter. If you know an undergrad, suggest that they join their college’s DBF team or start their own. Even if you don’t know an undergrad, you can still root for your local school or your old school. Trust me, the teams need the encouragement when they hit inevitable snags. Look up your school in the list of teams that participated in the DBF last year. If a team wants to enter, they have until October 31 to register.

This year teams have to build a soldier portable Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The craft must fit in a “commercially produced suitcase meeting airline carry-on bag rules”. We have 4 attempts to complete 3 missions: Fly as many laps as possible, carry “Ammo” (A steel bar, the size is up to the team, but the heavier the bar is, the more points) 3 laps and carry “medical supplies” (As many golfs ball as your plane can fit, the more you carry, the more points) 3 laps. We only have one shot at each mission.

You can read the detailed rules here. The Georgia Tech team is the only team with a twitter account, follow them @GATechDBF. My team’s website is here. Other teams who have websites are:

I’m sure there are more, but I couldn’t find any more. I’ll update this post when I do.