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Iowa State Design Build Fly

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
33 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on March 29, at 09:00 AM CDT
Project Owners

Iowa State Design Build Fly


Who We Are

Iowa State University Design Build Fly (ISU DBF) is a student-run project facilitated by the Make to Innovate (M2I) program. Our mission is to design, build, and fly a highly competitive aircraft that will compete in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Design/Build/Fly (AIAA DBF) Competition in order to enhance our engineering knowledge, skills, and understanding. The main objective for this year’s team is to design an aircraft capable of fully completing each of the missions at the AIAA DBF competition this coming April, in Tucson, Arizona.


Competition Details

The AIAA DBF competition is a yearly international aircraft design competition open to all university students. Each year students are tasked with designing, building, and flying unmanned, electric powered, remote control aircraft. These aircraft are required to meet unique and very specific design requirements and mission profiles. Each year, the missions change forcing teams to come up with completely new aircraft year after year. This VIDEO gives an overview of the DBF competition. The competition location alternates yearly between Wichita, KS, and Tucson, AZ. More information on the competition can be found on the official AIAA DBF WEBSITE.


This Year's Competition

This year’s competition objective is to design a multi-purpose aircraft to support aircraft carrier operations. The competition requires a fast aircraft capable of remotely and automatically transitioning from a stowed, folded-wing condition to a flight-ready configuration for each mission. In the stowed condition, the aircraft must be able to roll through a three-foot wide by two-foot high box. The aircraft must also incorporate dynamic payload including a rotating radome and at least four droppable attack stores. Additionally, this year’s competition presents the requirement that the aircraft must take off from a ten-foot ramp for each of the flight missions. The competition fly-off will take place April 11-14 in Tucson, Arizona. More information on this year's competition can be found at our team's WEBSITE.


This Year's Aircraft

Final Aircraft Design CAD Model
Final Aircraft Design CAD Model Stowed Configuration

Technical Specifications:

  • Wing Span: 6 ft
  • Wing Chord: 16 in
  • Length: 5 ft
  • Max Weight: 16 lb
  • Takeoff Speed: 16 mph
  • Cruise Speed: 40 mph
  • Max Speed 75 mph

Previous Years

2014-15 DBF Competition, Tucson, AZ
2016-17 DBF Aircraft
2016-17 DBF Competition Hand Launch, Tucson, AZ
2017-18 DBF Competition, Wichita, KS



ISU DBF needs your help. The logistics and travel to the competition in Tucson, Arizona, require a lot of money. With these donations, students will gain valuable experience and represent Iowa State University in one of the world's largest aircraft design competitions.  Attending and competing in this competition is extremely valuable to our team. Check out more about our team at

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Your generosity will be remembered for years to come. You will receive a "Thank You" on our website, signed card, and your name/logo will appear on our aircraft.



Your generosity is helping us reach new heights! You will receive a "Thank You" on our website, signed card with team photo, and your name/logo will appear prominently on our aircraft.

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