The Black team 2017 was challenged with designing a low frontal radar cross section (RCS), low cost, and small ground operation radius drone to be used by military. A double delta wing planform was chosen after a lengthy down select of a combination of RCS analysis and handling qualities at high angles of attack. With RCS being a major driving factor in the design, the inlet for the Kingtech K45 engine was a major concern. Black team choose to use a perforated aluminum sheet that was molded to fit the aircraft. The mesh works like a microwave, reflecting the wave’s away. With the shape of the mesh, the plane was given the name “Venom”.  Venom was capable of 60°+ Angle of Attack. In order to achieve a small ground operation radius, “Venom” was hand launched leaving a minimum footprint. Venom was originally manufactured with carbon veil, however to ease operation and minimize cost and weight, “Venom” was manufactured with aluminum foil. This allowed for a 99% reflective surface to reflect the RCS waves away from the monostatic radar we were challenged to design around. On contest day, April 30, 2017, “Venom” took 1st place in the Alpha class!!

Specification List: 
  • Wingspan: 42.5”
  • Length: 37”
  • Dry Weight: 6.25 lbs.
  • Angle of Attack (AoA): 60+°
  • Max Speed: 142 knots (163 mph)
  • Wing Area: 856.7 in2
  • Endurance: 6+ minutes at wide open throttle
Team Info: 

Chief Engineer:

  • Danny Wilkinson


  • Nick Volpe – Lead
  • Thomas Blehm
  • Aron Felder
  • Kyle Foreman
  • Tyler Morris
  • Michael Patman


  • Kayson Howard – Lead
  • Jonathan Drake
  • Jeremy Lay
  • Ryan Welniak


  • Nathan Isaacs – Lead
  • Sakib Ahmed
  • Garret Castor
  • David Covarrubias
  • Mark Diehl
  • Reece Douglas
  • Justen Duncan
  • Tate Roberson
  • Caitlin Stice
  • Joshua Thomas


  • Cody Cagaanan – Lead
  • Matthew Slayton


  • Addison Collins
  • Darius Douglas – Smith
  • Matt Durkee
  • Gabrielle Isaacs
  • Anna Jackson
  • Dominic Moore
  • Reid Williams
Contest Summary: 

Black team, 2017 Speedfest VII Champions

Results Summary: 

Black team met the ease of operation time, actually, "Venom could be ready to fly in about 4 minutes. “Venom" was able to land within 21 feet of where it took off. With the lightweight structure, GTOW was met. Also, "Venom" had 6+ minutes at wide open throttle "WOT". "Venom" was the fastest plane at the competition, coming in at 163 mph. Black team also won the Evasive maneuver, meaning the best presentation was given of the aircraft, from static display to flight demonstrations. Unit Cost was closely watched by the Black Team chief, which allowed Black team to win this category. RCS, was also won by Black team due to an extensive down select process as well as a great static display board that showed to process and justification of RCS.  Below is all the scores broken down.

  • Ease of Operation :4
  • Ground Ops Radius : 4                                 20.83 ft.
  • GTOW: 4
  • Endurance: 4
  • Max Speed: 4
  • Evasive Maneuver: 8
  • Unit Cost: 8
  • RCS: 6
  • Reliability: 6
  • Fit and finish (Judges and Pilot): 8.6
  • Handling Qualities (Pilots Score): 8
  • Design for intended use: 8
  • Cost bid certification       Yes/No                       Yes
  • RCS Judges Vote Count  3
  • Static display      0-15       10.2
  • Video (scored from online vote results)  0 or 5     0
  • Total Score         78.80
Memorable Quotes: 
  • “Hindsight is 20 / 20” – Structures Team
  • “It’s getting faster with every layer guys” – Justen
  • “Airplanes are not supposed to be able to do that” – Dr. Arena on Venom doing a pinwheel
  • “In modern vernacular , ‘NA-CA’ is for noobs” – Dr. Arena
  • “Justen, you’re off the team” – Garret
  • “I’ll be done with integration by dinner” – Kayson
  • “It’s no longer propulsions fault, it’s now CAD’s fault” – Dr. Arena