A total of 77 teams competed in the 2018-2019 Textron Aviation/Raytheon Missile Systems/AIAA Foundation Student Design/Build/Fly (DBF) Competition, held April 11-14, at the Tucson International Modelplex Park Association (TIMPA) Airfield, Tucson, Arizona. Fifty-six teams were from within the United States, while 21 came from abroad, including the winning team – from the University of Ljubljana. In second place was the ream from Georgia Tech, while third place was taken by Austria's FH Joanneum of Applied Sciences.
The team of 17 students from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering took part in it under the mentorship of Dr. Viktor Šajn, and was led by the engineering student Timotej Hofbauer. The group chose to build the aircraft entirely from composites with the help from sponsors Pipistrel, Akrapovič, and Zavod404.
Speaking about the project, and quoted on the University’s website, Hofbauer said: “We have been building the aircraft for more than half a year and committed more than 2000 hours of work to it. We succeeded in building an incredibly fast and light composite aircraft that can reach speeds of over 100 km/h and is capable of flying at the competitive speed for more than 10 minutes. The aircraft, ready to fly, weighs approximately 9 kg, of which 35 % constitute the batteries alone. It can carry 18 “bombs” and has a wing span of 2.5 meters.”
As noted in the related press release from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation, “the DBF competition encourages and recognises excellence in aerospace engineering skills at the undergraduate and graduate levels by challenging teams to design and fabricate a radio-controlled aircraft conforming to strict guidelines, submit a written report about the aircraft's design, and fly their aircraft over a defined course while carrying a payload and landing it without damage. This year, the design simulated a multi-purpose aircraft to support carrier operations.”
More photos from this year’s event can be seen here, while the following video (from 2018) gives a flavour of the event.