Fly-off 10th Oktober 2020

After an abrupt corona-related end of the 2020 DBF competition in March, the team decided to organize a final event to celebrate and round off this year’s project.

As soon as we were allowed to enter the FH JOANNEUM laboratory again our competition aircraft Mosquito was finished and ready to fly. The idea of the alternative fly-off was to invite European universities to Styria to prove and show off the great potential of the aircraft to each other. With this in mind, six team members of the University of Aachen made their way to Graz over the weekend of October 10, 2020.

On a beautiful autumnal Saturday, we met with Aachen‘s students at 9:00 a.m. and after a short tour of our laboratory, we made our way together to the model airfield in Weiz. Once there, we spent the first minutes and probably hours looking at and inspecting the other aircraft and its mechanisms. Shortly afterwards the missions started, and the excitement rose to maximum. Beginning with a simulation of the ground mission, up to the banner flight and the passenger & luggage loaded mission. During these hours the thought came up again how great the experience in the USA would have been and how interesting it would be to observe over 100 other aircraft designs. Nevertheless, one could see the joy on our faces under the masks after a successful day marked by pizza, beer and lots of resin. After this fly-off event we could finally find some closure with the 2020 competition and jA Aeronautics can finally open a new chapter. In this sense we, the DBF 2020 Team, wish all the best to next year’s team members.

The Best non-American Contender

The Best non-American Contender (ex aequo with The University of Alabama and Khalifa University)

We are very proud to announce that we reached the 8th place which makes us to the best not in America located university.

The COVID-19 crisis also struck the AIAA Design/Build/Fly Competition quite hard. Due to the emerging virus the DBF Organizing Committee along with AIAA decided early to cancel the fly-off and agreed to score the competition based solely on the final report scores.

Despite this precipitation our mood got brightened up last night. Out of 143 proposals for the competition, 113 teams were chosen of which 101 formal reports were considered. The teams are distributed all over the world and we, the FH JOANNEUM Graz achieved a phenomenal 8th place ex aequo with The University of Alabama and Khalifa University. That means that we left teams like University of Oklahoma (all times best), University of Ljubljana (last year’s winner), Clarkson University (winner of 2018), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Stanford University, RWTH Aachen University and many more, behind!

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.
When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

With this in mind, we are also happy to announce that we are working hard to attain a fly-off ourselves. It will be located in Austria and other universities will be invited as well. Unfortunately, it is too early for more information, but we will keep you updated.

Do you wanna know more about the 2019-20 AIAA/Textron Aviation/Raytheon Missile Systems Design/Build/Fly Competition?
Follow us on social media and read our other post about our journey!

The journey of DBF19 ends, but not without causing further sensation

It started in Graz in autumn 2018. We, 29 aviation students of the FH JOANNEUM, took previous students as a role model and prepared us for the participation in the DESIGN-BUILD-FLY contest in Tucson, Arizona. The time in the US was very successful: We achieved the 3rd place, which means we have reached the best result ever for our university. But that hasn’t been the end of the story, the success continued with the pma junior Award.

The pma junior Award is a prize for “Excellent Projekts” assigned by Project Management Austria (pma). The whole project has been evaluated in the categories target-orientation, leadership, team-members, resources and procedures as well as the result of the overall project was part of the rating.

The assessment was split over five months. An outline with the key points of the project content and the applied project management was the first step. A couple of assessors evaluated those and invited a few teams to an assessment interview. We have been one of these teams and defended our work during this interview which took place in the head quarter of pma. At the beginning of October we received the gratifying message that we are part of the finals. In course of a gala dinner, projects have been awarded in multiple categories and also ours in the field of “junior Award”. Our team achieved the title “award winner”.

After a bit more than one year, DBF19 is now history. We were able to participate and convince in two completely different competitions. The contests have been challenging but they raised us and connected us even closer. An experience we don’t want to miss in a manner.

A small hint: DBF20 is already within the preparation for the next year’s competition.
Have a look on instagram @ja_dbf to see the latest news.

DBF-2020 Team is ready for take-off!

Wichita, we are on the way!

Like our predecessors, we had to wait until this particular day to get the official acceptance for this year’s DBF-competition. But what is it all about?

We are especially proud to be able to announce that we are one of 113 teams which got the approval for the AIAA Design-Build-Fly Competition in Wichita, Kansas. But our journey already started with building the team in the mid of July 2019. Once the rules were published in September, we were able to divide the team into subteams to achieve the best distribution of specialists. This season the task is to design a “Banner Towing Bush Plane” which has never been demanded before and challenges us in a new way.

The competition consists of the following 4 Missions:

Mission 1: Test Flight

The aircraft must take-off , complete 3 laps in 5 minutes and successfully land.

One Point for achievement will be attributed.

Mission 2: Charter Flight

One or more passengers with additional luggage each (total weight per person and luggage 5 ounces / 141,7 grams) must be flown around the course with a minimum of 3 laps in a time span of 5 minutes.

The best ratio of passengers to flight time compared to all other teams will achieve the highest score ranging from 1 to 2 points.

Mission 3: Deployable Banner

A Banner must be mounted on the airplane and deployed during flight. The banner must have an aspect ratio of 5 to 1. Additionally, the takeoff length is limited to 20 feet (6,1 Meter) and the flight time to 10 minutes.

For scoring the banner length will be multiplied by the number of laps and divided by the best team’s ratio of length to laps. Achievable points are ranging from 2 to 3.

Ground Mission

The aircraft is positioned in a 10- by 10-foot box (3,05 x 3,05 meter) and must be loaded and unloaded with the maximum submitted passengers plus luggage. Only one person is allowed to touch the aircraft.

The fastest time is divided by the respective time.


The overall score will be multiplied with the points achieved in the proposal which is set up to 100 points.


The light is green, the team is ready and we are totally looking forward to competing against students around the world!

DBF19 Official Roll Out

Thank you for your support!

On March 1st the teams’ official competition aircraft “BOBBY” was presented at the Roll Out Event.
Numerous sponsors and other guests gathered in the aviation laboratory at the FH Joanneum in Graz, where the DBF-2019 team members awaited them with an outstanding Roll Out Event. Amongst the guests were various representatives of our DBF sponsoring companies, the FH Joanneum managing directors, head of department FH Joanneum Aviation, lectures and students as well.

After the official welcome from Miriam Scharf, head of management of the DBF19 team were invited to have some breakfast and to use the time to talk to the DBF team members. Students as well as company representatives were keen to get to know each other and finding potential future employers or employees.

The breakfast was followed by an official presentation including interviews of all the team members. Miriam Scharf was pleased to introduce the team to all of ours guests and explained the different positions and tasks of each team member as well as the organization behind the DBF19 team. Mathias Krampl, head of engineering, described the technical aspects of the competition aircraft, mission requirements and the production processes. Last but not least, Anna Sampl gave our guests an overview on our upcoming journey to the AIAA DBF competition in Tucson, Arizona.

To prove his qualification, Thomas Adelsberger, pilot of the DBF Team, performed an impressive flight show in the laboratory with a small RC- aerobatic aircraft.

The highlight of the Roll Out Event was the presentation of “BOBBY”. The team demonstrated “BOBBY” at the ground mission. This includes the automatic unfolding of the wings, attachment of the darts and the mounting of the radome. All tasks where performed with excellent speed and accuracy.

Finally, a cake in the shape of the “Bobby”-Logo has been served to celebrate the completion of the competition aircraft.  Students and the DBF FH Joanneum supervisors where honoured to cut BOBBY’s “birthday” cake.
The official part of the event came to an end with a lunch where our guests enjoyed foods, drinks and interesting conversation about BOBBY, the AIAA competition and many other aviation related topics.

We, the DBF19 team, want to say a huge “THANK YOU” to all sponsors and supporters of the DBF19 team! The outstanding BOBBY and also the Roll Out would have never been possible without your support!

DBF-2019 Team is accepted!

We are in!

Our aircraft proposal has officially been accepted for the competition and we are under the top 100 teams worldwide!

As every year the task is going to prove a challenge for every participating team. The objective for this year is to design a multi-purpose aircraft to support carrier operations. The aircraft must fulfil three different flight missions with diverse requirements as well as one ground mission. The competition will be hosted Raytheon Missile Systems. The fly-off is planned to be held at the TIMPA facility in Tucson, AZ from 11-14 April 2019.

More Information can be found on the official homepage of the DBF-Competition.