Annual VFS Design-Build-Vertical Flight Competition

Annual DBVF Competition

Revised RFP: updates to the 2023-2024 RFP as of Sept. 13 - download the latest version Request for Proposal.

Submission letters are due Oct. 9, 2023. The flyoff dates are April 10-12, 2024, again hosted by SURVICE ATO. 

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 advanced air mobility (AAM) 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.

A total of $5,000 in cash will be awarded.

  • 1st Place Overall: $2,250

  • 2nd Place Overall: $1,125

  • 3rd Place Overall: $650

  • Top Score Final Technical Report: $500

  • Top Score Flyoff Performance: $500

Team eligibility rules include:

  • Team members must be full-time students and can be at undergraduate and graduate levels; at least one Faculty Advisor must be named.
  • The student team captain(s) and unviersity faculty advisor(s) must be a current VFS member at the time of Letter of Intent submission — the student rate is $25/year.
  • Each team’s pilot must also hold an FAA Part 107 Drone Certification or equivalent certifying authority (non-US based teams).

The 2023 DBVF was a great success!

SURVICE Applied Technology Operation (ATO) — the 2022 Gold sponsor — was the DBVF competition flyoff in 2023 held on June 6-8. Check out their video summarynew!

2023 Request for Proposal

A total of $5,000 in cash awards were given in two rounds and include the following:

  • Preliminary Design Report: $300 to top five (5) scoring teams
  • Overall Competition: 1st – $2000; 2nd – $1000; 3rd – $500

2023 DBVF: Auburn University TeamThe winners of the 2023 DBVF Student Competition were:

Honorable Mention:

  • University of Michigan

Check out the press release of the final flyoff and awards ceremony.

2023 Preliminary Design Results

Congratulations to the following universities, whose Preliminary Design Report (PDR) were the top five scoring teams:

  • Cooper Union Aerial Vehicle Team
  • Delft University of Technology Lambach Aircraft Team
  • University of Cincinnati Verticats Team
  • University of Maryland Autonomous Micro Aerial Vehicle Team
  • University of Michigan Vertical Flight Technology Team

2023 Competing Teams

School: Team Name:
Auburn University Vehicle Systems, Dynamics, and Design Laboratory (VSDDL)
Cooper Union Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (CUASA)
Withdrawn: Catholic University of America: School of Engineering UAV Drone
Withdrawn: Delft University of Technology Lambach Aircraft
McGill University McGill Vertical Flight Society (MVF)
Withdrawn: Saint Louis University  
Withdrawn: University of Cincinnati VertiCats
University of Maryland Autonomous Micro Aerial Vehicle (AMAV)
University of Michigan Michigan Vertical Flight Technology (MVFT)
University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgerfly
Withdrawn: Vaughn College of Aeronautics & Technology Unmanned Aerial Team


2022 DBVF Results

2022 DBVF: Ohio State Univ. TeamThe winners of the 2022 DBVF Student Competition were:

Check out the press release and photo album of the final flyoff and awards ceremony.

Download the 2022 RFP Request for Proposal.

Congratulations to the other competing teams from this year:

  • McGill University
  • University of Michigan
  • Vaughn College of Aeronautics & Technology

2021 DBVF Results

2021 DBVF: U. Michigan team (small jpg)The winners of the inaugural (2021) DBVF Student Competition were:

Honorable mentions:

  • McGill University
  • Oregon State University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology

Download the 2021 Request for Proposal.

Check out our photo gallery of the winners and read the press release to learn more. Congrats to all the teams for perservance through all the challenges of design and development during the COVID-19 pandemic!



Thank you to our 2023 sponsor!

Silver Sponsor

Sponsorship Opportunities:

  • Gold Level: $5,000
  • Silver Level: $2,500
  • Bronze Level: $1,500

Please download the sponsorship flyer for more details.

2024 Timeline for Deliverables:

Submission Letter:
Oct. 9, 2023

Final Technical Report: March 4, 2024

Competition Fly-off Dates:
April 10-12, 2024

Questions: Email

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Download the latest FAQ document: DBVF FAQs PDF (09/13/2023)
Download the Achieving Autonomy Explainer (PDF)

Questions should be submitted by the 15th of every month

  - Updated FAQ document will be posted the 30th of every month

2024 Venue:

3538 Aldino Road
Churchville, MD 21028

Survice logo

Fly-off Host