Invitation to Participate in the SDC

August 15, 2018

To All Interested Parties:

The Request for Proposals for the 36th Annual Vertical Flight Society Student Design Competition, sponsored by Airbus, is now posted at The 2018-2019 challenge has been developed by Airbus and the Vertical Flight Society Student Design Competition Steering Committee. The Vertical Flight Society encourages universities from around the world to form teams and take part in this exciting vertical flight endeavor.

The design competition sponsorship rotates between Airbus, Leonardo Helicopters, The Boeing Company, Bell, and Sikorsky Aircraft, a Lockheed Martin Co., with the US Army Research Laboratory joining the sponsorship rotation this past year.

The 36th Annual Student Design Competition is requesting proposals for an “Extreme Altitude Mountain Rescue Vehicle”. Student teams are challenged to design a vehicle to perform emergency medical services up to the highest peaks of the planet.

In addition, Altair, is sponsoring a Weight Optimization optional bonus task for this year – with an additional $1000 each in prize money for one winning graduate and undergraduate team.
The sponsor, Airbus, will provide the funds for the awards through the Society. All award monies will be provided in US Dollars. Submissions are judged in four (4) categories:

Undergraduate category:                                                                                                                            

  • 1st place: $1,850

  • 2nd place: $1,200

  • 3rd place: $500

Graduate category:

  • 1st place: $2,500

  • 2nd place: $1,750

  • 3rd place: $950

Best first time entrant:

  • $500 (Undergraduate)

  • $750 (Graduate)

Weight Optimization Bonus Sponsored by Altair (Optional):

  • $1000 (awarded to one graduate team successfully completing the task, judged independent from the design portion)

  • $1000 (awarded to one undergraduate team successfully completing the  task, judged independent from the design portion)

Certificates of achievement will be presented to each member of the winning teams and to their faculty advisors for display at their school.  The first place winner team representative for the graduate and undergraduate categories will be expected to present a technical summary of their design at the Vertical Flight Society's 76th Annual Forum, May 19-21, 2020 in Montréal, Canada.  Presenters receive complimentary registration and each team will be provided with $1,000 for reimbursement of expenses to help defray the cost of attendance.

•    Letter of Intent to participate must be received no later than February 5, 2019 and must include the team members, whether it is a graduate or undergraduate team, their faculty sponsor and email addresses for all participants.
•    Requests for Information and clarification must be received no later than February 28, 2019. Responses will be circulated by March 29, 2018 to all participating teams.
•    Final Proposals must be submitted no later than May 31, 2019.

The Society recommends that you read the white paper Student Design Competition on Judging.

Please address all correspondence to me via email or through my contact information below.

Kind Regards,

Julie M. Gibbs
Technical Programs Director
AHS — The Vertical Flight Society
2701 Prosperity Ave., Suite 210
Fairfax, VA 22031 USA
1-703-684-6777 Ext. 103