Aggie Aquanauts


This airplane was designed for the 1998/1999 AIAA/Cessna/ONR Design/Build/Fly contest.  The mission objective was to carry the heaviest possible payload consisting of water bottles, over a specified course using multiple sorties.  Aircraft were subject to several design constraints including a runway length of 100 ft., span length of 9 ft, motor type, etc.  The Aquanaut aircraft finished in second place at the contest, and had the distinction of having the largest payload capacity, and gross weight.  As of May 2006, the plane is the largest and heaviest aircraft ever flown by the OSU design lab, tipping the scales at the maximum AMA allowable full gross weight of 55 lb.  The airplane used only a single ASTRO-90 electric motor, and was featured in an "Air Scoop" article in the December 1999 issue of Model Airplane News recognizing this feat.

Specification List: 


  • Wingspan:  9 [ft]  (Limited by contest rules)
  • Wing Area: 
  • Airfoil:
  • Aspect Ratio:


  • Length: 
  • Width: 
  • Height: 


  • Powerplant: Single ASTRO-90 2.3:1 gear ratio
  • Controller:    Astro 204D Brush
  • Fuel:             44  3000mah NiCd Batteries in Series
  • Propeller:     22x20 in Bolly composite
  • Maximum Power: >2400 Watts


  • Empty Weight (without Batteries):  21 lb
  • Battery Weight:                                 Approx. 8 lb
  • Maximum payload weight:              26 lb (12 liters of water)
  • Gross Weight:                                  55 lb

Special Features:

  • Servo operated battery cooling doors/drag brake
  • Wing End plates
  • Custom designed steel coil spring main gear integrated into wing spar.
  • Nosewheel Braking   


  • Takeoff distance at 55 lb:  100 ft.

Team Info: 

Chief Engineer: Mark Freeman

Aerodynamics / Stability and Control:

  • David Jamison (Lead)
  • Todd Greg


  • Scott St. John (Lead)
  • Brian Clark
  • Prasad Perera
  • Roshani Jayasekara
  • Mohammed Ali


  • Mike Blacet (Lead)
  • Amanda Myers
  • Eng Sheng Ngoi
  • Eng Miau Chew
  • Kek-Yau Tan
  • Kok Leong Choo
  • Tiong Hoe Lim
  • Wei Kian Lim

Pilot: Dr. Ron Delahoussaye

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Andrew S. Arena, Jr.

Assistant:    Joe Conner

*(The above team roster does not include all people involved in the project)

Contest Summary: 

The mission objective was to carry the heaviest possible payload consisting of water bottles, over a specified course using multiple sorties.  Total score is the total amount of water carried in pounds, times the written report score.  Some of the more challenging constraints on the designs included:

  • 100 ft short field takeoff distance
  • Electric motor using NiCd batteries
  • 10 minute maximum flight window
  • 55 pound maximum gross weight
  • Aircraft must be lifted at the wing tips at full gross weight

Complete Rules

Official Contest Summary

Results Summary: 
  • Report Score:    87.83
  • Flight Score:       71.5 lb of water
  • Total Score:        6280
  • Overall Place:     2nd

The following sponsors contributed to the project.  The Aggie Aquanaut team greatly appreciates their support, and considers them members of our team.  Without their support, the project would not have been possible.

NASA Oklahoma Space Grant Consortium
Ditch Witch
Advanced Racing Composites

Memorable Quotes: 

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Design, Build, Fly