The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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UAV Team



The UMass UAV Team competes in the annual AIAA DBF Competition, which involves designing, prototyping, and building a UAV and subcomponents capable of completing the missions outlined by the competition guidelines. Students will have to use engineering theory, math modeling, and hands on testing and prototyping to succeed in this real-world design challenge. The team competes against 110 other top universities around the world during the fly-off which is held in April at a different location in the US each year. Alongside the design proposals and technical reports required by the competition, the team will meet the Senior Design Project requirements. The UMass UAV Team objectives are:

  • Provide real world aircraft design experience by applying analytical studies
  • Enhance reputation of UMass Amherst engineering department by competing against universities in an event sponsored by aerospace companies such as SpaceX, NASA, Boeing, Textron, etc.
  • Inspire fellow UMass Amherst engineers to work in the aerospace industry and give them necessary skills to succeed there
  • Give students hands on prototyping and manufacturing experience
  • Build foundation for future UMass teams including entry, reports, design, prototype/equipment, and know-how



  • Mission profile for the 2020 contest is a banner towing bush plane operation in Southern California. The aircraft wingspan is limited to 60 inches, and the onboard energy storage must be less than 200 watt-hours. The UAV will be controlled remotely for the entire flight mission.
  • Payload requirements include a passenger mission where the UAV must securely carry 4oz wooden figurines and a banner towing mission where the UAV must tow a banner with a maximum aspect ratio of 5.