Black Magic


Team “Black Magic” designed an aircraft to compete in Speedfest IV held at Oklahoma State’s Unmanned Aircraft Flight Station just outside Stillwater, OK. Speedfest IV consisted of two missions. Mission 1 required the aircraft to climb with a payload descent vehicle (PDV) containing a golf ball to a high altitude and releasing the PDV within 10 seconds. The time the PDV took to descend to the ground or go out of sight, with a maximum time of 3 minutes, was the time allotted for the second mission. Mission 2 was a pylon race where the aircraft would complete figure 8 laps on a 600 foot course within the time acquired by the PDV, accumulating a score equal to the number of pylons crossed. The team built four pylon racers: Proto, Jailbreaker, Bullet, and Enigma. The pylon racers featured a modular mounting fin design that could fly with several different PDV glider sizes, ranging from wingspans of 48” to 64”. On contest day, April 26, 2014, “Black Magic” finished first place.

Specification List: 


  • Wing Area: 2.5 square feet
  • Aspect Ratio: 8
  • Airfoil: MH43
  • Wing Taper: 0.65


  • Length: 31.2 in
  • Width: 2 in
  • Height: 2.1 in


  • Engine: OS 0.46 AX II 
  • Exhaust: Tuned Pipe - 3" Header Pipe
  • Fuel: Cool Power 15% Airplane Fuel
                                 15% Nitromethane
                                 17% Castor Oil
                                 68% Methanol
  • Glow Plugs: #7 (Mission 1) #9 (Mission 2)
  • Propeller: APC 11 x 4 (Mission 1) APC 9 x 8.5 (Mission 2)


  • Gross Weight: 3.9 lbs


  • Optimum RPM: 18,000
  • Peak Power: 1.7 Horsepower
  • Cruise Speed: 168 ft/s
  • Max speed: 215 ft/s


  • Weight: 16 Ounces
  • Airfoil: MH64
  • Aspect Ratio: 6
  • Wing Span: 54 Inches
  • Wing Area: 486 Square Inches
  • Wing Taper: 0.64
  • Sweep: 23 Degrees
  • Descent Rate: 2 ft/s
Team Info: 

Chief Engineer: Kevin Hayes


  • Lead: Austin Conrad
  • Tomonobu Aozasa
  • Joshua Boyer
  • Kate Kujawa

CAD Lead: Tyler Davidson


  • Lead: Aaron Patterson
  • Joseph Banks
  • Kevin Belcher
  • Keith Kotar
  • Stephanie Wegener
  • Xionan Wu


  • Lead: Casey Young
  • Benjamin Brown
  • Benjamin Butchee
  • Danial Cross
  • Ethan Dougherty
  • Christian Hagler
  • Chris Maley
  • Blaise Salazar
  • Gray Williams
  • Cori Wright


  • Pylon Racer: Dan Bierly
  • Glider: Marc Hartman

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

Contest Summary: 

Mission 1 - Climb and Release:

Mission 1 challenged teams to takeoff, climb into the designated area east of the runway, release a payload descend vehicle (PDV) before a horn sounds at the end of 10 seconds after takeoff, and land. A payload descent time (PDT) is recorded from release until one of three conditions is met: touchdown of the payload in the designated area, payload is no longer visible to the judges, or 3 minutes. The type or design of the PDV was allowed to change during contest day, but the payload was required to land anywhere east of an imaginary line aligned with the west edge of the runway.

Mission 2 - High Speed Cruise:

Mission 2 was a pylon race, requiring the aircraft to enter a 600 ft pylon course to fly figure 8’s (see figure to the right) within the PDT acquired from Mission 1, earning one point for each pylon crossed. Mission 2 was flown with the Mission 1 PDT performed immediately prior to the attempt with the same plane. After Mission 1, the following changes were allowed to be made prior to flying Mission 2: propeller change, glow plug change, and minor repair or adjustment due to landing damage. Mission 2 was flown with the remaining fuel from Mission 1.

Score = Total number of turn flags raised within the PDT of mission 2.  A flag is raised each time a plane crosses a turn line (including the first)


In the event of a tie each team must fly as many laps as possible in a 3 minute window in the full Mission 1 configuration that achieved their highest score. The payload descent system must remain with the aircraft during the entire flight.

Official Contest Rules

Results Summary: 

Contest day weather conditions proved to be challenging. With high winds coming out of the S-SE, it wastough to attain a maximum PDV time. Team Black’s first attempt resulted in a DQ with a late glider release in Mission 1, but quick preparation allowed another attempt within the first flight window, acquiring a PDV time of 2:47:00 and a conservative score of 27 in Mission 2 to take the lead. As the day progressed, the winds picked up, gusting with winds up to 38 mph, making Mission 1 flights difficult with winds blowing the gliders north and to the west of the DQ line. With Team Orange tying the score up at 27, several Mission 1 flight attempts were made, achieving times of 1:53:00, 1:10:00, 2:02:00 with a score of 22, until the ultimately winning score of 29 was accomplished with a PDV of 2:25:00. Maximum PDV times were achieved later in the day, but no Mission 2 scores were achieved. A PDV time of 2:55:00 was acquired but prop changing issues prevented Mission 2 to be flown within the flight window, and later a PDV time of over 3:00:00 was attained as the glider flew past the DQ line. Speedfest IV was the closest Speedfest competition yet, ending with Team Black in first with 29 points and Team Orange in a close second with 27 points.

OSU Team Black 2014 Score Summary

  • Highest PDV time:      2min 55s
  • Max # of Flags:           29 Flags
  • Final Score:                 29
  • Overall Place:             1st
  • Complete Contest Results

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

Event Sponsors:
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, AIAA 
Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, AUVSI 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA 
Spirit AeroSystems 
University Multispectral Labs, UML 
Zivko Aeronautics

Company Sponsors:
Charles Machine Works, Inc (Ditch Witch) 
Orange Leaf 
Red Bull

Independent Sponsors:
Kelly and Linda Young 
Patrick and Karrie Hayes 
Kirk and Kathy Boyer 
J.W. and Shirley Speaks 
Terry and Jolene Williams 
John and Anita Maley 
Mark and Chelle Davidson 
Ralph Speaks 
Jodi Sullivan 
WD Revel 

Memorable Quotes: 
  • "From noon to 4, just shovel-face it." - Stephanie
  • "I just make eye contact with the one I want." - Stephanie
  • Right in the peanut butter and jelly of the sandwich." - Blaise
  • "Gonna play with my fuse box before I go to bed!" - Blaise
  • "Once we started drawing... things just started coming out of our butts!" - Kevin H.
  • "Jig this, jig that, I am sick of jigs!" - Casey
  • "Yeah... Buzz Lightyear Landed." - Aaron ... "Landing is mandatory." - Ben Brown
  • "At least you have a good plane... ours is like a giant fish baby." - Tim Jennings (Orange Team)
  • "I broke like three nails this week!! I am pissed!" - Tyler
  • "Grumpy people make airplanes faster." - Austin