Flight Factory


The Flight Factory aircraft is an all composite, box wing design that was designed to compete in the 1999/2000 AIAA/Cessna/ONR Design/Build/Fly contest held in Wichita, KS in April of 2000.  The objective was to fly a mission consisting of alternating sorties: a short field cargo sortie where the aircraft carried water in 1L containers, and a ferry sortie in which the aircraft flew 2 empty laps.  Flight score depended entirely upon the amount of water carried, which could be done in multiple sorties.  Aircraft were subject to several design constraints such as runway length, wing span, battery type and size, motor type, etc.  The Flight Factory team finished in 2nd place overall at the contest.  And had the distinction of lifting the largest amount of cargo in any one mission.

Specification List: 


  • Wings:           2 in a staggered box configuration
  • Wing Span:    7ft (contest limited)
  • Wing Area:    12.84 sq. ft
  • Airfoil:            S1223


  • Length 5.83 ft.


  • Motor:         Astro 661 geared
  • Controller:   Astro 204D
  • Fuel:           36 x SR2400 NiCd batteries
  • Propeller:    20 in


  • Empty Weight (without batteries):    15.1 lb
  • Battery Weight:      5 lb
  • Payload weight:     17.6 (8x1Liter bottles of water)
  • Gross weight:        37.7 lb


  • Composite construction  (The Flight Factory and ORANGE ABISS teams built the composite curing oven while designing their planes)
  • Custom machined nose gear with hydraulic brake


  • Takeoff distance at full gross weight:    100 ft.
  • Range at full gross weight:                   2 contest sorties
  • Liters of water carried for a mission:     16
Team Info: 

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

Chief Engineer: Nathan Weber

Aerodynamics / Stability and Control

  • Joe Parry (Lead)
  • Alvin Liaw
  • Vincent Voo


  • Rob Viggers (Lead)
  • Josh Cathey
  • Mike Holcumbrink
  • Clement Tang


  • Tommy Coulter (Lead)
  • Joe Cavett
  • Raymond Lininger
  • Ng Kok Poh
  • Kristie Robben
  • Joshua Bruce
  • Brandon Anderson
  • Chee Hing Hoh
  • Seng-Yuan Loo
  • Sze Nyi Tan

Pilot: Dan Bierly

Spotter: 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 2000 DBF contest traded off heavy lift capability, with long range cruise.  For each mission, the aircraft had to fly a short field cargo mission by carrying as many 1L bottles of water as possible.  Then the aircraft had to perform an empty sortie of 2 laps.  The aircraft could repeat this process until time or fuel ran out.  Overall score was written report score, times the amount of water carried in three missions, divided by RAC.  RAC was a "Rated Aircraft Cost" which penalized many aspects of the design.  It included penalties for design parameters such as; aircraft empty weight, engine power, wing area, etc.  A link to the complete rules may be found below.  Two of the most significant challenges of the mission requirements were the short 100 ft. takeoff and the 7 ft. wingspan limit.  The box wing aircraft was a result of the trade studies accomplished during the design phase.

The Flight Factory aircraft was able to lift the largest amount of water for a single mission, of any aircraft in the contest: 16 Liters.  When the top three flight scores were added, Flight Factory tied for first place in flight score, however dropped to second place overall due to report score and RAC.

Complete Rules

Official Contest Summary

Results Summary: 
  • Report Score:     84.85
  • Flight Score:       14 + 14 + 16  (Sum of best three missions in liters of water)
  • RAC:                  6.37
  • Total Score:        586.09
  • Overall Place:     2nd

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

Advanced Racing Composites
Coulter and Company
Lowrance Electronics
Ditch Witch
NASA Oklahoma Space Grant Consortium
Keith Robben CPA

Design, Build, Fly