Annual VFS Design-Build-Vertical Flight Competition

1st Annual DBVF Competition

The Vertical Flight Society has launched its 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.

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Congratulations to the seven teams listed below whose proposal submissions were accepted into the competition! The Society looks forward to all the teams participating in this exciting challenge.

McGill University VFS & AERO McGill Team
Ohio State University Buckeye Vertical Team
Oregon State University Beaverhawks 3.0 Team
Pennsylvania State University Autonomous Robotics Competition Club (ARCC) Team
University of Maryland Autonomous Micro Aerial Vehicle (AMAV) Team
University of Michigan Michigan Vertical Flight Technology (MVFT) Team
Vaughn College of Aeronautics & Technology Vaughn College UAV Team

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 3 updated Dec. 1, 2020).

Also available Frequently Asked Questions PDF (updated Jan. 9, 2021) and the Achieving Autonomy appendix.

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
  • Preliminary Design Report (PDR): Dec. 20, 2020Send PDRs to
  • Final Technical Report: March 7, 2021
  • Competition Weekend: April 16–17, 2021

DVBF Timeline

Questions? Email: