Drag'N Tail


"Drag 'n Tail" was designed to compete in the 2009/2010 AIAA/Cessna/ONR Design/Build/Fly contest, held in Wichita, KS in April of 2010. The aircraft was designed for a simulated cargo plane mission. Within this mission were three objectives. Mission one was a ferry flight, where score depended on weight of the system and flight time. Mission two was a loading mission, where softballs were loaded into the fuselage of the plane. Score for this mission involved weight and loading time. Mission three was a cargo mission, where ‘bats’ had to be attached to the outside of the plane. Score for this mission was based on number of bats carried and flight time. Several design constraints were placed on the planes, such as battery number, use of certain types of materials, and where the two types of cargo would be carried. Optimization was done for the required missions, and "Drag'n Tail" finished in second place at contest.

Specification List: 


  • Wingspan:        78 in
  • Wing Area:       768 sq in
  • Aspect Ratio:    7.9
  • Airfoil:               MH 114


  • Length:     40.25 in
  • Width:     8.75 in
  • Height:     5 in


  • Motor:         
  • Controller:    Jazz 55-6-32
  • Fuel:            26 Elite 1500 batteries
  • Propeller      18 in


  • Empty:    4.5 lb
  • Battery:     1.33 lb
  • Payload (mission 2):    4.0 lb
  • Payload (mission 3):    6.25 lb max
  • Max Gross (mission 3):       10.7 lb


  • Internal payload grid construction
  • Bats carried underneath fuselage
  • Composite landing gear
  • Balsa construction
  • Speed loading setup


  • Take off at gross weight (GW):    96 ft.
  • Max climb rate (GW):    474 ft/min
  • Stall speed (GW):         35 ft/sec
  • Cruise speed:           63 ft/sec
Team Info: 

The OSU Black design team was led by a Chief Engineer, and divided into four primary groups: Aerodynamics/Stability and Control, Propulsion, Structures, and CAD.

Chief Engineer:    Ryan Paul   

Aerodynamics / Stability and Control:

  • Adam Still (Lead)
  • Tyler McElroy
  • Ryan Rupe


  • Mac Carver (Lead)
  • Ryan Darrow
  • Andrew Flusche
  • Lucas Spinazzola
  • Brian Walters


  • Fred Keating (Lead)
  • Ben Bettinger
  • Jonathan Covington
  • Trent Maness
  • Dustin McDaniel
  • David Roy
  • Kevin Sloan
  • Blake Carlisle
  • Andrew Eckhart
  • Abe McClellan
  • Clint Reitz
  • Jacob Ryan
  • David Walker

CAD: Michael Bevers

Assembly Crew: 

  • David Walker
  • David Roy
  • Abe McClellan   

Loading Crew: 

  • Ben Bettinger
  • Mac Carver
  • Kevin Sloan   

Report Group: 

  • Adam Still
  • Tyler McElroy
  • Ryan Rupe
  • Ryan Paul

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

Pilot: Dan Bierly  

Assistant:    Joe Conner

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

Contest Summary: 

The 2010 DBF mission profile involved three missions. The variables worth the most points in the score were the loading time for mission two and the system weight, which was factored into two missions. Overall score was calculated by multiplying total flight score by written report score.


  • Avoiding cg change with the differing missions.
  • 100 ft runway.
  • Electric motor, and NiMH, or NiCd batteries required.
  • Loading the softballs as fast as possible.
  • 4 ft X 2 ft X 2 ft box limit.
  • Fasteners for the 'bats.'

On Saturday morning, OSU Black was in fourth place. They flew an excellent first mission, but a dropped ball in mission two meant that that score could be improved by at least a second, even though they had one of the best times already.

Sunday came, and Black flew the fastest third mission they had ever flown. Scores were neck and neck, and the re-flight would be what determined the contest. Mission 2 was chosen to fly again, as it could be the most improved. However, the bag in which the balls were stored got caught in the box, slowing the loading time. The Black team finished in second place to OSU Orange.

Complete Contest Rules

Official Contest Summary and Results

Results Summary: 

Report Score:      93.5

Total Flight Score:      197.6

Total Score:      18480

Overall Place:      2nd


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

Spirit Aerosystems
Sandia National Laboratories
NASA Oklahoma Space Grant Consortium
Ceat Student Council
General Electric
Lockheed Martin

Design, Build, Fly