Reading the Rules

Reading the rules is the single most important task for the DBF team. Without reading the rules, there is almost no chance for success. The rules will tell you exactly what the judges will be grading you on. SO READ THE RULES!!!

Creating a Checklist

As you read the rules, you should create a checklist, so you can keep track of what you’ve done and what’s left to do.

Some things you might consider putting on your checklist include, but are not limited to:


  • Find the email we send questions to, and the date that questions can be asked.
  • Join the Facebook Group associated with the DBF comepetition this year.
  • Find out when the Flight Line Order list will be published and how it will be sent out.
  • Find the Flight Course map and calculate all distances that may be required.
  • Write down all schedule dates, including what dates and times (noting time zones) the proposal, report, proof of flight, competition, etc. are.
  • Write down all the things requried for each submission.
  • Inform the team members of any logistics they will need to do, such as AIAA membership conditions.
  • Find out what units of measure will the competition use?
  • Learn where and when will the fly-of be


  • Find out how to submit the proposal, and what constitutes a completed submission.
  • Find out the accepted proposal file format.
  • Compare the formatting requirements to the LaTeX template and update as necessary. - e.g. line spacing, font size, margins, page size, university name on first page, etc.
  • Create a new document with the appropriate naming scheme.
  • Find out what file size limits there are.
  • Compare the Proposal Scoring Rubric with the LaTeX template and make sure the order is correct.
  • Write the objective statement
  • Write the planned approach to achieve all objectives
  • Include main points from all subsequent sections
  • Describe the organization, the roles of each team member and individual skill sets required.
  • Include organization chart (by team/function, individual names are not required for the proposal)
  • Include schedule / Major Milestone chart
  • Include budget (not only for expected materials and manufacturing of the airplane, but for travel to the competition site and any other expenses associated with the competition)
  • Decomposition of mission requirements into sub-system requirements.
  • Describe preliminary design / sizing results
  • Create a concept sketch (does not have to be representative of the final design)
  • Complete a sensitivity study of design parameters
  • Prepare a preliminary manufacturing flow
  • Describe critical processes or technologies required
  • Create a component and ground test plan
  • Create a flight test plan
  • Edit/Revise
  • Peer Review
  • Edit/Revise 2
  • Advisor Review
  • Edit/Revise 3
  • Submit

By this point, you should have a feel for the kinds of things to include on a checklist. Your checklist will be a lot more exhaustive than this one, and include details for the entire competetion, including the final report, the design process, etc.

The checklist needs to be updated regularly and it should be organized in such a way that it is not confusing. Any member of the team should be able to use the checklist in order to decide what to do next.