Annual VFS Design-Build-Vertical Flight Competition

Annual DBVF Competition

The Vertical Flight Society completed its inaugural VFS Design-Build-Vertical Flight (DBVF) Student Competition in April 2021. VFS is pleased to host the second annual DBVF student competition: 

2022 Request for Proposal (updated Dec. 16, 2021) — download the latest RFP!

Download the FAQ document (updated Dec. 16, 2021)

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.

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is the host of the DBVF competition flyoff, which will be held at ARL’s Robotics Research Collaboration Campus (R2C2) at Graces Quarters in Maryland and scheduled for June 1-3, 2022. Download the ARL APG visitors guide.

The aircraft will be restricted to a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of no more than 15 lbs. (6.8 kg). The vehicle, along with any power supply and payload may not exceed 15 lbs. Aircraft size and weight will factor into the competition scoring, which will be described in the scoring section of the Request for Proposal.

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

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

Team eligibility rules include:

  • Maximum of ten full-time university students and up to two Faculty Advisors.
  • Each team member must be a current VFS Student Member ($25/year) at the time of submitting your Preliminary Design Report (PDR).
  • Each team’s pilot must also hold an FAA Part 107 Drone Certification.

Congratulations and good luck to the participating teams this year from the following universities:

  • Arizona State University
  • McGill University
  • Ohio State University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Portland
  • 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!



Timeline for Deliverables:

Letter of Intent to Submit:
Closed on Oct. 15, 2021

Preliminary Design Report:
extended to Dec. 20, 2021
    - PDR results mid to late January 2022

Team Component Lists & Network Diagram to ARL:
March 1, 2022

Team Fly-off Participant List to ARL:
NOW DUE March 1, 2022

UAS Pilot Certifications Training & Experience (including FAA Part 107 Certification) to ARL: April 25, 2022

Final Technical Report: May 2, 2022

Competition Fly-off Dates:
June 1-3, 2022
   - Team Check-in/Pilot Certification:
     June 1, 2022
   - Competition Days:
     June 2-3, 2022

Questions: Email

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):  An FAQ document will be posted to the competition site on a semi-monthly basis.

Questions should be submitted by the 15th of every month

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