Design-Build-Fly Team

Support the Design-Build-Fly team today. To date, $2,587 has been raised from 40 gifts.

Design-Build-Fly 2023-2024

We are the Design-Build-Fly Team (DBF) of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Student Branch at UNC Charlotte (AIAA). We are raising funds to compete in the international DBF competition sponsored by the AIAA Foundation, Raytheon Technologies, and Textron Aviation. Each year, the DBF team is tasked with designing, building, and testing a radio-controlled aircraft to execute specific missions. This year the designed aircraft must complete a series of missions demonstrating Urban Air Mobility. To successfully complete the missions, the aircraft must be flexible enough to operate with a variety of payload types, including a medical transport configuration and a passenger configuration. Additionally, the aircraft must be able to takeoff in less than 20 feet and fit within a 2.5-foot parking space.

This is the first year of the DBF team at UNC Charlotte will be traveling to compete in the competition. 

More than 120 universities from around the world compete in this competition annually. To be competitive in this competition, the development of advanced designs and control systems are necessary. The cost of this project includes research, design, construction, and travel. This year’s competition will be hosted by Textron Aviation in Wichita, Kansas.  

The DBF competition consists of three phases. During the first phase, teams from around the world create conceptual designs to meet each year’s specific requirements. The designs are documented in a proposal and submitted to the competition committee. For the 2024 competition, 149 teams submitted a proposal. With a proposal score of 70, our team has qualified to travel and compete in Wichita, Kansas.

2024 Proposed Design

The second phase, currently underway, consists of a more detailed design as well as manufacturing and testing documented in a report. The Design Report must be completed and submitted by February 23, 2024. After this point, no major changes can be made to the design.

The final phase is to travel to Kansas and compete against other teams in a fly-off. The fly-off is a 4-day event from April 18 to April 21. 

In order for the DBF team to be successful, we need your help! Our $10,000 fundraising goal will allow us to purchase the necessary parts and materials for the aircraft and travel to the competition in Kansas in 2024. We estimate the electronic components used for propulsion and control to cost $1,120, the structural materials for manufacturing to cost $650, and travel to and from the competition in Wichita, Kansas and lodging throughout the 4-day competition and 2 travel days to cost $5,200. The travel budget is estimated for 8 people.

*Note: Spending is subject to change.

You can double or triple the impact of your gift if your employer participates in a matching gift program.  To see if your employer has a matching gift program, click here. If your company matches, complete your matching gift form and submit it to UNC Charlotte via mail (UNC Charlotte Foundation, 9201 University City Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28223), fax (704-687-7259) or email (

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