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Design, Build, Fly at Virginia Tech

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
2 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on November 15, at 11:55 PM EST
Project Owners

Design Build Fly at Virginia Tech

Who are we?

Design Build Fly at Virginia Tech is a student led design team competing in the AIAA Design, Build, Fly competition. Our team is dedicated to enriching the education of both graduating seniors and underclassmen in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech by providing dynamic, hands on experience. 

Each year, our team competes in the annual Design Build Fly competition hosted by Textron Aviation and Raytheon Missile Systems. The competition consists of designing an unmanned, electric powered, radio controlled aircraft that must complete three flight missions and one ground mission with different scoring equations for each mission; the goal is a balanced design possessing good, demonstrated flight handling qualities and practical and affordable manufacturing requirements while providing a high vehicle performance.  

Current Competition:

This year's competition calls for a humanitarian mission of delivering vaccination components. The designed aircraft must have a maximum linear dimension of eight feet and must carry vaccination supplies. The first mission requires the aircraft to be flown for three laps within five minutes while carrying no payload as a proof of flight. Mission two then calls for the aircraft to carry as many syringes as possible for three laps within five minutes, in which the aircraft will be scored for the number of syringes and flight time. For mission three, the aircraft will be loaded with vaccine vial packages containing 5g shock sensors. The aircraft must fly one lap, land, taxi to a specified location, and deploy one vaccine vial package. From there, the aircraft taxis back to the start line to takeoff and repeat the process as many times as possible within 10 minutes. If the vaccine vial packages experience a load greater than 5g then that deployment is not considered to be successful. This mission is scored on the number of successful deployments.

How does your gift help?

Each year, we completely redesign our aircraft from scratch. This keeps every competition fresh and full of new design opportunities, but also costs us significantly more. We create between 4 to 6 aircraft each year which can easily cost more than $1,000 each. Additionally, our competition consumes half of our yearly budget to drive as many members as possible, free of charge, across the country for a week.

Your support will greatly help us to create better aircraft and push us towards earning first place. Additionally, the more funds that we raise allows us to bring additional members to competition, helping shape the leads for future years.

Previous Competitions:

For the 2017-2018 team, the competition called for a dual purpose regional and business aircraft. The team entered the competition with a flying wing design which held a single passenger to minimize the weight and span of the aircraft. Although the competition was designed to optimize the number of passengers, an in-depth scoring analysis found that decreasing the weight and span of the aircraft would result in the highest score possible. The efforts proved successful as the team placed 2nd out of a total of 96 teams. In 2015-2016, the team placed 4th overall with a plane that had to carry another smaller plane inside it. These successes set a wonderful precedence and will push the team to continue reaching for 1st place.

Follow us on Social Media!

Facebook: DBFatVirginiaTech
Instagram: hokiesdbf
LinkedIn: Design Build Fly at Virginia Tech (VT DBF)

Choose a giving level


Flight School

Any gift helps us out tremendously! Your contribution can help pay for building supplies, workspace upgrades, or competition funding.



With this generous contribution, you'll have the option to be added to our routine email listserv to stay up to date on our competition progress.


Second Officer

In addition to the previous tier, you'll have exclusive access to any behind the scenes content we create throughout the year.


First Officer

Includes all the benefits of the previous levels, as well as the opportunity to meet the DBF team either in person or over Zoom.


Senior First Officer

Includes all the benefits of the previous levels, as well as the opportunity to see our bay in the Joseph F. Ware Lab on campus where we manufacture each of our aircraft.



Includes all the benefits of the previous levels, as well as the opportunity to watch one of our test flights.


Training Captain

This gift is enough to fully sponsor a member to travel to our competition in April! Includes all the benefits of the previous levels, as well as having your name or company added to our email listserv, poster and promotional materials, and team t-shirts.

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