Project Description:


Design/Build/Fly (DBF), a contest hosted by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), provides real world aircraft design experience for engineering students at University of California Irvine by giving us the opportunity to validate our analytic studies.  As a team, we will design, fabricate, and demonstrate the flight capabilities of an unmanned, electric powered, radio controlled aircraft that can best meet the specified mission profiles. Cessna Aircraft and Raytheon Missile Systems host the competition.


Every year engineering students organize themselves in groups: aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, stability and control, payload and assembly, CAD and report to make up the UCI DBF team. The team is usually made up of mostly new recruits and some returning members. Members in the aerodynamics group learn how to size airplanes and model aerodynamic forces such as lift and drag using the programs Matlab and X-foil. The propulsion group learns about brushless electric motors and how to size a motor-batter-propeller system to have the desired performance. The structural group will learn hot-wire foam cutting and composite work such as fiberglass lamination, Tooling Gel mold making and carbon fiber and Kevlar solid part and surface manufacturing. The stability and control group utilizes the Athena Vortex Lattice (AVL) program to analyze the stability of the design. The payload and assembly team come up with creative ideas and solutions to package and assemble the aircraft to help maximize the performance score by minimizing weight, assembly time, aircraft drag, and design complexity. The CAD and report group document the progress of the other groups and produce a sixty-page report which is as important as the aircraft’s performance in the over all score of the team. Most importantly, DBF members gain teamwork and leadership skills and experience that prepare them to enter the aero industry.