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Design, Build & Fly for AIAA competition

- it was the first rank among teams from East Asia -

Host Department: The Design, Build & Fly (DBF) team hosted in Department of Mechanical Engineering

Project supervisor: Dr C.K. CHAN (Department of Mechanical Engineering)

Supporting Fund: Tam Wing Fan Innovation Wing, H.K.U.E.A.A. Experiential Learning Fund


The Design, Build & Fly (DBF) is a regular capstone design project under the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME). In the past four years, our DBF teams participated in the Taiwan Innovative Unmanned Aircraft Design Competition. The team was awarded 1st runner up, The Best Aerodynamic Design Award and The Best Report Award in 2016,  the Highest payload award and the 1st runner up of the Advanced Engine Plane Design in 2017 and got the 2nd runner up in the British Model Flying Association 2018 University and Schools Flight Challenges.

Ranked 13th (104 teams) in 23rd AIAA Design Build Fly Competition

The HKU DBF team participated in the “23rd AIAA Design Build Fly Competition” in the U.S.A. and ranked 13th among 104 eligible teams, which is the best ever result of Hong Kong teams since 2013.  It was the first rank among teams from East Asia.



In April 2019, one DBF teams of the ME department participated in the “AIAA Design Build Fly Competition” in which students are required to design, fabricate and demonstrate the flight capabilities of an unmanned, electric-powered, radio-controlled aircraft representing real-world aircraft and aerospace design challenges. The Hong Kong Air Cadet Corp (HKACC) and The Hong Kong Model Engineering Club Limited (HKMEC) were invited to provide technical support to the team.

The competition is held by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in April 2019. Competing teams are required to design and build a RC plane that can carry the highest payload with the highest speed as well.


From August 2018 to May 2019, under the supervisor (ME, HKU) and the advisor (HKACC), students went through the fundamental engineering design process: identifying the problems, developing conceptual designs, building computer models, optimizing their designs with finite element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamic (CFD) software, learning practical RC plane building technique, working out the physical prototype, evaluating the performance and refining their design recurrently.

Design, Build & Fly

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