"Katana" was designed to compete in Speedfest III held outside Stillwater, OK. The challenge presented to Team Black consisted of designing a paintball bomber optimized for two missions. Both missions were based on a 900ft course, but the mission requirements presented conflicting design drivers. For the first mission, the aircraft was required to fly as many laps as possible in 3 minutes while carrying a full payload of 40 paintballs. The second mission required the aircraft to drop the payload of 40 paintballs shortly after take-off and then perform a high speed dash 900ft and back. To drop the payload, the aircraft temporarily rolled inverted and released the paintballs through a bay door on top of the fuselage. The name "Katana" was inspired by the sharpness of the wing's leading edge. "Katana" finished in first place at the contest on April 20, 2013.

Specification List: 


  • Wingspan:       40 in
  • Wing Area:      161.83 sq in
  • Aspect Ratio:   10
  • Airfoil:              MH43


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


  • Motor:      Neu 1115-1900 (Mission 1)
                     Neu 1115-2800 (Mission 2)
  • ESC:          Casle Phoenix Ice Lite 100
  • Battery:    ThunderPower 2100mAh 25C LiPo (Mission 1)
                      ThunderPower 1300mAh 70C LiPo (Mission 2)
  • Propeller:  APC 6 x 5.5 (Mission 1)
                        APC 4.75 x 5.5 clipped (Mission 2)


  • Empty Weight:           1.79 lbs
  • Battery Weight:         0.43 lbs
  • Payload Weight:        0.25 lbs
  • Max Gross Weight:   2.47 lbs


  • Stall speed (GW):     28 mph
  • Max Load Factor:      38 g's
  • Max speed:               210 mph empirically based from test flights
Team Info: 

OSU Team Black was led by a Chief Engineer and divided into four groups: Aerodynamics, Propulsion, Structures, and CAD.

Chief Engineer: Nathan Woody


  • Lead:  Karl Grosz
  • Brian Delano
  • Zach McCoy
  • James Salisbury

CAD: Drew Michels


  • Lead:  Alyssa Avery
  • Logan Fitzsimmons
  • Tyler Nally
  • Corey Norlin
  • Adam Sheddy
  • Will Smith
  • John Staskal
  • Morgan Walsh

Pilot: Dan Bierly

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

Contest Summary: 

Mission 1 - Efficient Cruise

The mission was to complete as many laps in the 900' course as possible in three minutes after entering the course. The course was flown in a figure eight pattern in the  AMA  2-pylon course  method, and the team earned a flag for every half lap completed. The aircraft had to complete the mission fully loaded with 40 paintballs.

Mission 2 - Paintball Drop-and-Dash

The mission had two parts - to deploy 40 paintballs on a 10' x 10' target and then fly down and back on the 900' course as fast as possible. The mission score was invalid if any paintballs remained in the aircraft after landing.

Results Summary: 

Although Team Black won the competition, the day did not go as smoothly as planned. The team team's first round ended with a slow Mission 2 time and an aborted Mission 1 attempt. Things began to improve when the team posted 26 flags and 9.5 seconds in Round 2, but a series of disqualifications, due to paintballs stuck in the fuselage, in the following rounds prevented the team from posting more competitive results. During practice flights, Team Black had easily achieved scores of 28 flags and 8.5 seconds, so they planned to push the envelope on contest day. In the end, the team finished with final scores of 27 flags and 9 seconds.

OSU Team Black 2013 Score Summary
Mission 1:       27 flags
Mission 2:       9 seconds
Total Score:    180
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.



NASA Oklahoma Space Grant Consortium

Zivko Aeronautics

Spirit AeroSystems

University Multispectral Labs(UML)

Zivko Aeronautics