New Year, New Rules!

by artmx3 / October 3, 2019

Hello all! This is Donni Johnson, the new president of Miner Aviation. For the past two years, Annika Highley has written these posts. I hope I can do as well as she did!

After a successful year with AIAA’s Design/Build/Fly (DBF) competition, we are excited and ready for more!


With a new year comes a set of rules and a new leadership team. Let me introduce you to our officers:

President: Donnita Johnson
Vice President: Chandler Cairatti
Chief Engineer: Evan Guyett
Business Coordinator: Brendan Hentz
Public Relations Coordinator: Aleni Tsikhlakis
Shop Liaison: Blake McPherson

Also, I cannot forget our fantastic leads:

Aerodynamics and Stability/Control: Zachary Heller
Design and Manufacturing: Hamming Lin and Samuel Weiler
Electronics: Charles Maddi
Propulsion: Brett Masters
Structures: Jessica Mast


We are all working hard to make sure this team has a great year, especially now that our rules have been released. Just like last year, you can find the rules on AIAA’s website:

The competition will be taking place in Wichita, Kansas on April 16-19. This year we must build a “Charter, Bush, Banner-Towing” aircraft. The scoring has changed this year so every last drop of performance we can get out of our plane counts. Like last year, there are three flight missions (a test flight mission, a passenger-carrying mission, and a
banner-towing/short-take-off mission) and a ground mission. Unlike last year, the scores are normalized against other teams so the most a particular mission can gain is one point.

Another big change to the competition: batteries! Both our electronics and propulsion subgroups were pleased to learn that DBF will be allowing the use of lithium polymer batteries for the first time. Before this change, teams had to use heavy, inefficient NiMH or NiCad batteries.

Although we are still designing, we plan to have a finalized conceptual design for our proposal, which is due October 31st. Our proposal has to be within the top 100 entries in order for us to compete this year.

Competition aside, this school year marks the 20th anniversary of Miner Aviation. Although we started as AAVG, included the addition of rocketry, split into two independent teams, and changed our name, the team’s spirit has carried through for 20 years now. Keep your eyes peeled for 20th anniversary merchandise and events!

Lastly, thank you to all of you reading this: alumni, parents, friends, and sponsors. As Miner Aviation, the team could not exist without your unwavering support. Thank you for giving a bunch of airplane nerds a place to grow their skills and find others just like them.

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