Annual VFS Design-Build-Vertical Flight Competition

1st Annual DBVF Competition

The Vertical Flight Society invites student teams to participate in the inaugural VFS Design-Build-Vertical Flight (DBVF) Student Competition. This electric-powered remote-control vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) competition seeks to encourage interest in unmanned aircraft technology, and small air vehicle design and fabrication. The competition is designed to develop hands-on skills and familiarization with eVTOL and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) technology at the university student level and prepare the next generation of engineers and leaders to push the limits of this exciting technology into the future.

The fly-off portion of the competition is scheduled to take place at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Robotics Research Collaboration Campus (R2C2) at Graces Quarters in Maryland on April 16–17, 2021. Download the APG Vistors Guide for more information, which includes directions and visitor access information.

The general aircraft requirements are restricted to the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) Group 1, which limits the maximum take-off weight (MTOW) to no more than 20 lb (9.1 kg). Aircraft size and weight will factor into the competition scoring as described in the scoring section of the Request for Proposal.

Awards include the following:

  • Overall Competition: 1st – $2000; 2nd – $1000; 3rd – $500 and trophies
  • Preliminary Design Report: 1st – $750; 2nd – $500; 3rd – $250

Download the Request for Proposal (Rev 2, 9/23/2020) and the Achieving Autonomy. appendix.

Also available Frequently Asked Questions PDF

Proposal submission date extended to Oct. 15, 2020 — send to

Team eligibility rules include:

  • Full-time university students; must have at least one faculty advisor.
  • Each team member must be a current VFS Student Member ($25/year) at the time of submitting your Preliminary Design Report (PDR). Find VFS membership information at
  • Each team’s pilot must also hold an FAA Part 107 Drone Certification.

Timeline of deliverables:

  • Proposal Submission Window: Sept. 1 – Oct. 15, 2020 (extended)! Send proposals to
  • Preliminary Design Report: Dec. 20, 2020
  • Final Technical Report: March 7, 2021
  • Competition Weekend: April 16–17, 2021

DVBF Timeline

Questions? Email: 

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