Design Build Fly: Exploring a career in aerospace

Something you’ll build from scratch with the Design Build Fly (DBF) team is a remote-controlled airplane while learning new skills, applying theory, and taking part in an international aerospace competition.

Students from the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) Adelaide Student Branch come from diverse backgrounds including engineering and computer science and share a common interest in aeronautics.

Joseph Brown, team Sponsorship Manager describes the hands-on opportunities students receive in the competition.

“Students can apply their skills and theory into applicable situations designing model aircraft and competing in different missions,” said Joseph.

Earlier in the year, the AIAA Adelaide team travelled to Arizona in the USA to fly their aircraft in the DBF competition. Although conditions were challenging, the team brought home a victory landing the aircraft without power and without crashing.

Greg and Harry with remote-controlled airplane

Greg and Harry in the USA for the 2023 Design Build Fly Competition with the remote-controlled airplane that students built from scratch.

The mentorship from more experienced students is a key factor that is helping undergraduates develop their capabilities in aeronautics and the importance of good teamwork.

Joanna George is a DBF team member who worked on the design and fabrication of the aircraft’s wings.

“We joined the Design Build Fly competition to get some more hands-on training and to develop our experiences and knowledge for the future,” said Joanna.

Joseph shares the value of his time in the competition through learning computer-aided design technology, putting theory into practice, and progressing his employability skills.

“The practical experience of learning CAD is definitely something that has taken me further in my studies, being able to actually apply that to some of the theory in the projects that we do … also learning soft skills in team management is definitely something that has been applicable.”

The 28th annual Design Build Fly competition is happening from 18 to 21 April 2024 in Wichita, Kansas USA.

How you can participate in the 2024 DBF competition

The AIAA Adelaide Student Branch invites students to register for an information session on Wednesday 6 December. The session will be held at Napier Lecture Theatre G03 from 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm. 

Register your interest

Hear from our students about the challenges and triumphs from the 2023 DBF competition.

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