The Competition

Miner Aviation competes in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design Build Fly Competition (DBF). The Executive Board made the decision in 2018 to switch from the SAE Aerospace Competition to AIAA DBF as the old competition was becoming repetitive and nuanced. Now, Miner Aviation is able to try newer and bolder designs like never before. This competition brings different challenges and design aspects every year, testing our team's ability to create original designs and develop our problem solving skills.

The contest fly-off is tentatively scheduled for 15-18 April 2021, for more information on the details of this year's competition, please visit the AIAA 2021 schedule and the 2020-21 Design, Build, Fly Rules.

Overall Mission: UAV with Sensor Suite

The objective for this year is to design, build and test a UAV with a towed sensor. Missions will include delivery
of the UAV, transportation of sensors in shipping containers, and surveillance by deploying, operating, and
recovering a towed sensor.

The Competition: General Rules

Maximum allowable wingspan is 5 feet
• A second payload transmitter may be used for deployment, operation and recovery of the towed
sensor only and must be operated by the Observer crew member
• Payloads
• Mission 1 – no payload
• Mission 2 – sensor(s) in shipping container(s)
• All sensor shipping containers (includes the sensor in its shipping container and all
shipping container simulators) and the deploy and recovery mechanism must be
secured sufficiently to assure safe flight without possible shift of aircraft CG outside
of design limits during flight
• Mission 3 – deployable sensor
• Sensor requirements:
• The sensor must have a minimum diameter of 1.00 inch with a minimum length to diameter ratio
of 4.
• The sensor must be aerodynamically stable while deploying, operating and recovering the sensor
[aerodynamically stable is defined as remaining in a fixed orientation (not spinning or rotating)
with no effect on the stability of the aircraft at the discretion of the Flight Director]
• The sensor must have the following functionality:
▪ It must have a minimum of 3 external lights that can be viewed while in flight in the
deployed position
▪ The lights must operate one at a time in the deployed position in a pattern to be
determined by each team
▪ The lights must be visible by the Flight Director (lots of plentiful sunshine in Arizona in
▪ The lights must be turned on and off remotely via the flight or payload transmitter
▪ The sensor lights must be controlled by a physical connection to the airplane via the
tow cable
▪ The sensor must contain its own battery power supply compliant with the battery
requirements herein
• The sensor must be carried internally to the airplane. No part of the sensor can be part of or
extrude outside of the airplane external surfaces or features
• The deploying and recovery mechanism for the sensor must be internal to the airplane
• The deploying and recovery mechanism is not required on all missions, but any pylons, covers or
fairing required for the mechanism must be included in all missions
• The deploying and recovery mechanism must be carried on Mission 2, but does not have to be in
the Mission 3 location or configuration
• The deploying and recovery mechanism must deploy the sensor a minimum of 10X the total
length of the sensor from the exit location of the airplane. The tow line must include a marker
such that the Flight Line Director can verify it is fully deployed in flight.
• Sensor shipping container requirements:
• The sensor shipping container must fully enclose the sensor and protect it from drop shock events
• All shipping container simulators must be the same size (within +/- 1/8 inch) and same or greater
weight as the sensor shipping container with sensor
• The sensor shipping container must protect the sensor from damage during drop testing in the
Ground Mission