Participation of Six student of the Msc Aerospace Engineering to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics competition

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Since last September 2018, six second year students of the Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering have designed and built a radio controlled aircraft, in order to participate to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design/Build/Fly (DBF) competition in the United States.

Headed by Pierre Troillard who had already participated to the DBF competition in 2016 while doing his Bachelor in Aeronautics at The Pennsylvania State University, he will try again this experience accompanied by his classmates of ISAE-SUPAERO Master of Science.


He has created with Mateo Tobar (Ecuador) a multicultural team composed by Enrico Baracaglia (Italy) of the System Engineering major, Benjamin Solomon (India) and Marc Arumi (Spain) of System and Control major, and Alba Arona (Spain) of the Aerodynamic and Propulsion major. They will represent our school next April in Tucson (Arizona – US). Each member comes with a different level of professional experience and educational background such as Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering.
The knowledge and the motivation to perform in the competition will represent an opportunity for them to apply classroom theory in real world.
The team is subdivided into several workgroup:
-  Structures and Design : Mateo Tobar and Marc Arumi
-  Aerodynamics: Alba Arona
-  System and Control: Enrico Baracaglia and Benjamin Solomon.

The DBF competition ( is a partnership between the AIAA Foundation, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Raytheon Missile Systems. Participants who complete an entry form and successfully submit a design report will be invited to bring their airplane to Tucson, Arizona in April 2019 for a fly-off. The winners will be determined by a combination of their report score and their flight missions score.


This competition provides students an opportunity to compete against the best engineering institutions in the world, and to design and build themselves a radio controlled aircraft in order to perform specific missions.
The goal is a balanced design possessing good demonstrated flight handling qualities and practical and affordable manufacturing requirements. To encourage innovation and maintain a fresh design challenge for each new year participants, the design requirements and performance objective will be updated for each new contest year.

The objective of the 2018-2019 Design Build Fly (DBF) competition is to design and fabricate a multi-purpose aircraft to support carrier operations. The aircraft must be able to take off from a 4 feet wide by 10 feet long launch ramp at an angle of 5°, it must have a tail hook for restraint during power up, and the span of the aircraft must be at least 4 feet. Additionally, the aircraft must carry a minimum of four attack stores (large dart rocket), it must have a rotating radome, and it must have folding surfaces such that it fits inside a space of 3 feet wide by 2 feet high in the stowed condition.

DBF competition

“Funding the logistics was definitely the biggest challenge presented to ourselves when facing the project” says Mateo “the main goal was actually to persuade private organizations in order to build a sponsoring partnership which would provide us with enough funds to make the project possible”. Thanks to financial support of the Foundation ISAE-SUPAERO that accompanies student projects, and others companies (Satys, Wildora), the DBF team Supaero is now ready to take part and present their aircraft at the competition.

After performing the first flight at the beginning of March, the DBF Supaero Team needs now to perform several flights tests in order to validate the performance of the aircraft and the proper functioning of the subsystems.
This project was possible thanks to the material, the equipment and the technical support of the InnovSpace of ISAE-SUPAERO. Beyond courses and design skills of students, it allows implementation by iterations tests / errors in a maker spirit.

“Participating to DBF has definitely been a challenge for us since it was the first year to compete” says Pierre Troillard, “this kind of challenge is an amazing way of learning skills such as project management, teamwork, and technical skills. Thanks to the high motivation of the team members, we are now ready to present our aircraft in Tucson”.
“We would like ISAE-SUPAERO to be able to participate again to DBF in the coming years. We would like also to thank the companies who supported us in this project and also ISAE-SUPAERO and its Foundation”.

All ISAE-SUPAERO, teachers, students are very happy and will encourage the DBF Team in April during the competition. We would like to wish them good luck for this sensational adventure and project.

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