Dirty Dozen


The OSU Orange "Dirty Dozen" airplane was designed and built in 1995 by a team of Aerospace, Mechanical, and Electrical engineering students at OSU as a project for MAE 4374 Aerospace Systems Design.  The design goal was to build an aircraft subject to the SAE Heavy Lift contest rules.  The most restrictive design constraints included a total planform area limit, a runway of 200 ft, as well as the restriction to an unmodified 0.61 cu in K&B glow engine.  The Dirty Dozen team name refers to the twelve official members of the team.

Specification List: 


  • Wing Span:         9.25 ft
  • Wing Area:          6.84 sq ft
  • Aspect Ratio:      12.5
  • Taper Ratio:        0.45
  • Wing Incidence:   10 deg
  • Wing Dihedral:     4 deg
  • Airfoil:                 Wortman FX-63 137


  • Length:    5.09 ft


  • Engine:           Unmodified K&B 0.61 cu in glow
  • Fuel:               10% Nitro RC engine fuel
  • Propeller:        13x6
  • Static Thrust:    lb


  • Dry weight:        Approx 9 lb
  • Payload:            Approx 19 lb
  • Gross Weight:    Approx 28 lb


  • Automatic Angle of Attack hold autopilot (custom made)
  • Vane-based alpha sensor with optical encoder (see picture)
  • Fuselage based on a "spine" type design.  All major load paths go through the spine, and all major systems connect to it.
  • "T" tail design
  • Straight leading edge (Forward sweep)
Team Info: 

The Dirty Dozen Team was lead by a chief engineer, and was divided into 4 technical groups: Aerodynamics/Stability and Control, Propulsion, Structures, and Systems.

Chief Engineer: Cole Stephens

Aerodynamics / Stability and Control:

  • David Lewis (Lead)
  • Steven Nichols


  • Heather Van Alstine (Lead)
  • Joe Connor


  • Brian Perry (Lead)
  • Chris Nichols
  • Bobby Reyes
  • Matt Fritz


  • Andrew Tan  (Lead)
  • Sugianto Jasin
  • John Hawkins

Pilot: Paul Reinman

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

Contest Summary: 

The design goal was to build an aircraft subject to the SAE Heavy Lift contest rules.  The contest goal was to design and build an aircraft that could carry as much steel payload as possible subject to certain design constraints.  The constraints of the design in 1995 included:

  • A 200 ft. runway
  • An unmodified K&B 61 glow engine
  • total planform area of no more than 1200 sq in.  This area included all surfaces visible from a planform view of the aircraft, so tail area, fuselage, and even wheel area had to be taken into account.

This was the first year that the aero design class were to actually build and fly their designs.  The intent was to not go to the contest the first year, but to have a flyoff in Stillwater, subject to the SAE contest rules.  On the day of the flyoff, schedule was for the teams to make a final design presentation in the NRC, and then the teams and spectators were to meet at the Stillwater Municipal airport for an actual flyoff.  Rainy conditions made the flyoff very difficult, and when the Pink Panther made a flight attempt, it ultimately crashed.  The Dirty Dozen team was not able to make an attempt that day.  Ultimately both teams developed aircraft that flew well with a significant amount of payload, and were pioneers in the OSU Aerospace Systems design class.

Design, Build, Fly