SAE AeroDesign

"The AeroDesign project is a challenge to engineering students whose primary purpose is to promote the dissemination and exchange of techniques and knowledge of aeronautical engineering through practical applications and competition between teams. By participating in this project, the student is involved in all stages of a real case of aeronautical development project - design, detailed design, construction and testing."


Quote from SAE Brazil website



The Competition

The competition was created in the US in 1986 and was brought to Brazil in 1999 by the brazilian branch of SAE. Since then, the event has grown not only in size but also in quality of project and challenge for the teams involved. Nowadays it receives more than 2000 people, among participants and visitors, and produce results that are among the world's best, since the rule of the Brazilian competition is more technical compared to international competition.




The competition is divided into three parts - report, presentation and flight - and three classes with similar goals, but completely different project methodology. In addition to rules that apply to all classes, each has its specific rules and may encourage knowledge of electronics, structural efficiency, aerodynamic efficiency, etc. The total score is a sum of the applicable bonus, the flight competition and design competition – report and project plants (185 points) and oral presentation (35 points).


Technical Report: It is the most important part of the project. It should contain all the calculations and every detail that was taken into account for each decision made during the project. For most teams, acquiring the knowledge to write a good report is often a greater challenge than actually build or make your CAD model. This document worth the greater part of the note, regardless of class.


Presentation: In addition to having a good design and knowledge of the subject, it is important to know how to transmit the knowledge clearly. At the end of the presentation, all the doubts that the judges may have about the project needs to be clarified.


Flight Round: The flight rounds may vary in number and rules according to the class. In general, in the qualifying phase, the aircraft must have a valid flight with a determined payload. A flight is considered valid when the aircraft is able to take off and land without damaging any of its structure permanently.

After the qualifying rounds, there are the competitions round where the teams are free to carry as much weight as they want respecting the competition rules. The climate conditions are often a determining factor for the competition Aircrafts build on the limit of their structural efficiency usually have problems with rain and cross wind.


Advanced Class: In this class, the main objective is to build an aircraft up to 3kg that is able to carry the maximum possible load, with the 30kg limit for the takeoff weight. In addition, the flight score takes into account the data acquired by embedded systems into an aircraft and the accuracy (payload forecast prevision). In addition, there are bonus for cargo removal time and distance to stop after touchdown.


Regular Class: It is the most competitive event. Only a few points often separate the first places and every gram of payload makes a difference. In this class, the rules determine the engine that needs to be used and a maximum projected area of the structures. This rule makes all the aircrafts look similar. The flight score takes into account the payload, structural efficiency (ratio between payload and empty weight), empty weight and accuracy. There are bonus for the distance to stop after touchdown, cargo removal time and a reliability factor that consider the score of the two best flight rounds of the team.


Classe Micro: This class gives priority to structural efficiency, the aircraft must be as light as possible and be able to load a volume containing 43 tennis balls. In addition, the aircraft has to be detachable and its components needs to fit into a fixed volume.

The flight score takes into consideration the empty weight of the aircraft, the reliability of the project (the number of successfully completed flight) the accuracy, volume of the transport box, assembly time and cargo removal time.


The competition lasts four days, the first for the presentations and the exhibition of aircraft and the other three for flights. The award is made at the end of the fourth day.




*The following description is based on the rules refering to the 2015 competition.