DBF is a team of undergraduate and graduate students that develops aircraft for the annual AIAA Design/Build/Fly competition.

Students gain experience in conceptual design, multidisciplinary optimization, aerodynamic, structural and propulsive analysis, composite layups, CAD software, UAV fabrication and RC flight. No experience is needed to join the team! The exec holds many training sessions to get new members comfortable in the lab and help them develop skills relating to the construction of the aircraft. Additionally, new members have a chance to explore our three sub teams, aerodynamics, mechanisms, and propulsion, and determine what best fits their interests and strength. For MIT students who are interested in joining us and would like to be on our mailing list for further information on new member trainings and meetings, please reach out and email us at dbf-exec@mit.edu. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us as well.


Number of Members:
25 members in 2022-2023

Team Leader:
Ada Erus

Year Began:

Sponsors: Gordon Engineering Leadership Program (GEL), MIT Aero/Astro, General Atomics

N52 and the Gelb Lab in Bldg. 33

Past Events:
In the 2022-2023 competition cycle, DBF team placed 19th out of over 100 collegiate teams from around the world with our aircraft ELLAVATOR. In the 2021-2022 competition cycle, our design document placed 2nd out of 97 teams, for our aircraft SPITZFIRE which featured an empennage with two vertical stabilizers. This year, the competition is an urban air mobility challenge, with mission requiring our aircraft to hold dollies representing passengers, patients, and nurses, in the fuselage.

Join the Team:
Design Build Fly general body meetings are 12-4pm on Saturdays in the Gelb Lab in the basement of Bldg 33. While we have a new member training program the beginning of the year we recommend new members attend, we always welcome new members at our meetings. Each of our sub teams determines separate meeting times throughout the week. There are also weekly exec meetings on Tuesdays at 5pm in the Unified Lounge open to everyone but only required for exec members.

Team Update:

We are currently running calculations and getting the numbers to start prototyping aircraft capable of completing this year’s competitions missions. In the 2022-2023 competition cycle, MIT DBF placed 19th in the annual AIAA DBF competition.

Team Website: