top of page

Our History

DBF has a rich history, spanning back to the early 2000s. Each year presented new challenges, and our team evolved with exciting rule changes and advanced technologies.

Below is our timeline. Take a walk down memory lane with our team!


Began with high expectations after 2022, this year required a highly efficient plane that could fly the heaviest payload for the most laps, while also holding the largest weight via the wingtips during ground mission. While this year saw all on-campus activities return to normal, manufacturing had to be rebuilt from the ground up in order to facilitate the high strength carbon sandwich construction necessary for the aircraft’s design. While competition was not controversy-free, the team ultimately came through, scoring a record 5th place out of 99 teams.


Aircraft: UW-23 Sailfin
Competition Location: Tucson, AZ
Final Results: 5th place (out of 99)

2021 - 2022

The greatest challenge of this season was the vaccine package delivery mission----the aircraft needs to takeoff within 25 feet with full payload, fly a standard lap, land and deploy a package within a designated zone, and repeat this process until all packages are delivered or the mission window has expired. The packages were also equipped with shock sensors that nullifies the score of a deployed package if tripped. Unfazed by the challenges and adversity, the team managed to successfully deploy 6 packages, the third most of 97 teams, and scored the highest finish of 9th, marking the return to competitiveness.


Aircraft: UW-22 Albatross
Competition Location: Wichita, KS
Final Results: 9th place (out of 97)

2020 - 2021

Design for the year focused on the creation of a UAV capable of deploying, towing, and retrieving an internally-stowed mock sensor, and capable of ferrying a high number of these sensors. Though challenged with remote-design work, reduced manufacturing access, and a remote, video-based competition flyoff, the team responded with the largest aircraft, and first tandem wing that DBF at UW has produced. This year further saw the first team use of vacuum-bagged composites in many years. A pre-competition crash precluded the ability to perform the third and final flight mission, dramatically influencing the team’s final score.


Aircraft: UW-21 Dragonfly
Competition Location: Tucson, AZ (Remote)
Final Results: 43rd place (out of 92)

2019 - 2020

The 2019-20 competition parameters called for a “Bush” plane, capable of performing two different mission profiles: high speed transportation of mock passengers and their luggage, deployment and eventual release of a towed banner. Despite cancellation of the fly-off due to health concerns, the team pushed the limits of manufacturing experience, crafting a composite with a large payload capacity.

A special thanks to ElectroImpact, Boeing, AFSL, and the UW Aero & Astro Department

Aircraft: The Phoenix
Competition Location: Wichita, KA (Canceled)
Final Results: 45th place (out of 101)


2018 - 2019

Competition involved designing an aircraft for carrier-based operations. Teams were to accommodate removable drop-stores, a radome, reduceable wingspans, and a short 10ft take-off. The UW DBF team responded with a small, lightweight airframe with high lift. Environmental factors resulted in a structural failure that unfortunately prevented a scoreable flight


Competition Location: Tucson, AZ
Final Results: NA

2016 - 2017

Returning to a military theme, teams were required to design a tube-launched UAV capable of carrying small, but varying cargos. To fullfill these requirements, the UW DBF team departed from traditional design, forgoing a large fuselage

Competition Location: Tucson, AZ
Final Results: 35th place (out of 95)


2015 - 2016

This year, teams were tasked with designing two aircraft, rather than one: a Production Aircraft with a 2lb payload capacity, and a Manufacturing Support Aircraft to be carried within the Production Aircraft


Competition Location: Wichita, KS
Final Results: 25th place (out of 80)

2014 - 2015

This year the team was tasked with developing an aircraft to remotely deploy sensors. The aircraft needed to carry both internal cargo as well as external, deployable sensors.

Competition Location: Tucson, AZ
Final Results: 22nd place (out of 100)


2013 - 2014

The theme for this year’s competition was “Back Country Rough Field Bush Plane”.  Teams were tasked with designing an aircraft for back country operations such as medical transport, cargo delivery, and rough runway operations.  The UW’s “Dawg Sled” was manufactured using novel techniques such as 3D printing and composite structures.


Aircraft: Dawg Sled
Competition Location: Wichita, KS
Final Results: 30th place (out of 80)

2012 - 2013

The UW design, built, and flew a “Joint Strike Fighter” aircraft with internal payload capability.  The competition consisted of missions involving short take-off and landing, stealth missions, and strike missions.  The “DawgAir 313” was designed to meet these design requirements using a unique morphing wing technology.

Aircraft: DawgAir 313
Competition Location: Tucson, AZ
Final Results: 32nd place (out of 81)


2010 - 2011

The contest theme this year as a “soldier portable UAV”.  The airplane had to fit in a commercially available suitcase meeting airline carry-on requirements.  Teams then competed in various military themed missions and as usual, the total score was a product of the flight scores and written report scores. The UW DBF team participated with the “Puget Sound Barrier” and placed within the top 1/3 of competitors.

Aircraft: Puget Sound Barrier
Competition Location: Tucson, AZ
Final Results: 24th place (out of 82)

2009 - 2010

This year’s competition involved designing an aircraft to accommodate a random assortment of payloads.  While the UW was able to construct and submit a final report for “Da Dawgsled”, technical issues prevented any competition flights of the aircraft, dramatically impacting the final score.

Aircraft: Da Dawgsled
Competition Location: Wichita, KS
Final Results: 51st place (out of 69)

2008 - 2009

Requirements for the three flight missions for this year included flight with an empty and full external fuel tank, and an asymmetric  of simulated missile wing stores.This year’s competition involved designing an aircraft to accommodate a random assortment of payloads.


Aircraft: Montlake Maurader
Competition Location: Tucson, AZ
Final Results: 10th place (out of 41)

2007 - 2008

The primary design objective for this year was to accommodate a random payload combination composed of passengers and cargo pallets.  Teams were assigned payload manifests at random and scoring was based on performance during these runs.  The UW successfully design, built, and flew “The Growler”, a unique bi-plane configuration with high speed and payload capacity.

Aircraft: The Growler
Competition Location: Wichita,KS
Final Results: 18th place (out of 60)


2006 - 2007

After a year’s hiatus, the UW DBF team participated in their second AIAA Design Build Fly Competition. The aircraft was designed to carry an range of volume- and/or weight-intensive payloads. Despite this only being the second year of entry, the team was one of only seven teams to complete both flight missions.


Aircraft: Purple Haze
Competition Location: Tucson, AZ
Final Results: 14th place (out of 50)

2004 - 2005

During UW DBF’s inaugural year the team competed with the aircraft, HuskyWorks – Sirius. A Special Thanks to Emmett Lalish and friends for beginning our Journey

Aircraft: Sirius
Competition Location: St. Inigoes, MD
Final Results: 26th place (out of 44)

bottom of page