Building on the success turbine-powered aircraft yielded in Speedfest VI, a new design concept was devised: a fast, low-cost, easy to operate, reliable, low frontal radar cross section (RCS) aircraft with a low ground operation radius built around the Kingtech K45 turbine engine. This was determined due to the need for an advanced turbine-powered target drone to train US defense personnel in the identification, tracking, and elimination of small, lowcost, fast moving UAS threats. Presently, such a drone does not exist, but is a critical need in order to stay ahead of threats as they develop. From these sets of basic requirements, a family of aircraft was born. The following is a quick summary of Orange Team's entry to Speedfest VII: StingRAE. 

Specification List: 
  • Wingspan: 44”
  • Length: 37”
  • Airfoil: Biconvex with 10% max thickness to chord
  • Dry Weight: 6.75 lbs
  • Angle of Attack (AoA): 70+°
  • Max Speed: 138 knots (160 mph)
  • Planform Area: 821in^2
  • Endurance: 7.5+ minutes at wide open throttle (12 mins at standard flight)
  • Thrust: 12 lbs
  • Structure: Dual carbon fiber layers for radar reflection, Divinycell PVC foam for impact resistance
  • Theroetical Frontal RCS: 1.2 inch diameter sphere (PumaEM)  
  • Realiability: 14 launch and recoveries on event day (stopped due to event ending)
  • Ground Ops Radius: <10 feet
  • Evasive Manuevering: Successfully did a blender, inverted high-speed pass, barrel roll
Team Info: 

Orange Team consisted of 23 graduating seniors under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Arena and his 3 TA's. Dan Bierly was the pilot throughout the semester, starting from the initial test flight of the first composite airframe through event day. The team was led by a Chief Engineer who oversaw 4 subteams, each with their own subteam lead. The breakdown of the team was as follows:

Chief Engineer: 

  • Levi Ross


  • Karis Reavis - Lead
  • Joshua Vaughn


  • Scott Wallace - Lead
  • Matt Bettis
  • Robbie Anderson
  • Mac Bryan
  • Merl Prichard


  • Ryan Brinkman - Lead
  • Trent Schroeder
  • Kyle Spears
  • Garrett Lane


  • Ashley Drumright - Lead
  • Brandon Young
  • Matt Mitchell
  • Miles Valles
  • Jalen Golphin
  • Kevin Hinton
  • Zac Ostrum
  • Barrett Lee
  • Scott Noll
  • Ryan Patrick
  • Ryan Aiken
Contest Summary: 

Orange Team's flight routines went spectacularly well amidst many rain delays and very gusty winds in excess of 32 mph. Despite "flaming out" the engine at the end of the day, the aircraft was safely landed and ready to fly again. Even in gusty conditions, the pilot was able to get the lowest ground operation radius of the day at 17 total feet from launch point to landing. Orange Team 2017 marked the FIRST TIME in Speedfest history that an aircraft was not lost or sustained major damages at any point throughout the semester. Aircraft 5, "StingRAE", had the most consective takeoff/land cominiations of any aircraft to ever compete in this event at 14 total attempts. This number could have been greater, but incoming rain forced the competition to end early.

Results Summary: 

#2 on the field, #1 in your heart. Orange Team lost a hard-fought battle against Black team 72-79, marking the closest margin of any two teams in Speedfest history. To put things in perspective, had Orange Team won any singular additional category, the results would have been flipped. Orange Team walked away with the Best Marketing Video, lowest Ground Operation Radius, and greatest Reliability while earning highest marks in Handling Qualities and Desing for Intended Use. 

Memorable Quotes: 
  • "Understand and adapt to it." - Ashley Drumright
  • "Let me get my gluts." Jedediah (Ryan Aiken)
  • "I'm used to making jokes that make people want to inflict pain on me." - Joshua Vaughn
  • "Look, these new stopwatches are a different brand but they are literally the exact same as the other stopwatches." - Ashley Drumright "Just like Orange Team and Black Team this year." - Brandon Young
  • "Where are those sanding sticks?" - Ashley Drumright  "You mean files?" - Brandon Young
  • "Think like Black Team and ask yourself, what would Orange Team do?" - Joshua Vaughn
  • "I'm just gonna shut up so I'm wrong less." - Levi Ross
  • "If it can go wrong, it will go wrong." - Matt Bettis
  • "Everything is against us." - Matt Bettis
  • "So… y'all like Latin?" - Scott Wallace
  • "Now that's the best wax job I've ever seen!" - Brandon Young
  • "It'll only take an hour tops." - Scott Wallace
  • "So we're good, right?" - Aero Team
  • "Can we just hot glue it?" - Robbie Anderson
  • "But seriously guys, we can use hot glue!" - Merl Prichard