SAE Aero Design East

March 9-11, 2018 │ Lakeland, FL USA │ Florida Air Museum

About SAE Aero Design Series

The SAE Aero Design competition is intended to provide undergraduate and graduate engineering students with a real-life engineering challenge. The competition has been designed to provide exposure to the kinds of situations that engineers face in their real-life work environment. First and foremost a design competition, students will find themselves performing trade studies and making compromises to arrive at a design solution that will optimally meet the mission requirements while still conforming to the configuration limitations.

The importance of interpersonal communication skills is sometimes overlooked, yet both written and oral communication skills are vital in the engineering workplace. To help teams develop these skills, a high percentage of a team's score is devoted to the design report and the oral presentation required in the competition.

SAE Aero Design features three classes of competition-Regular, Advanced, and Micro. Regular Class continues to be the class with the purpose to develop the fundamental understanding of flight. We recommended Regular Class for first year teams interested in competing. Advanced Class requires teams to have a systems approach to the design while integrating several engineering disciplines: aeronautical, mechanical, electrical, and computer engineers. The ultimate end goal for this class is autonomous flight with a "purpose" decided every year by rules committee members. Micro Class teams are required to make trades between two potentially conflicting requirements, carrying the highest payload fraction possible, while simultaneously pursuing the lowest empty weight possible.

International Events

The official Collegiate Design Series competitions that are authorized and governed by SAE International are listed below. Unless listed below, the design competition or event is not an official SAE International competition, and is not authorized, sanctioned, or endorsed by SAE International.

Aero Design® Brazil


SAE Aero Design® East

First Competition - 1986
Organizing Institutions - SAE and the annual host institution

1986 Competition Data Number of registered teams: Not available
Number of participating students: Not available
Site: Kansas City, KS

2016 Competition Data Number of registered teams: 75
Number of participating students: 590
Site: Thunderbird Field, Fort Worth, TX

Notes: (1) Aero Design was originally named the Radio Controlled Cargo Aircraft Competition. (2) Aero Design was organized as a single event from 1986 through 1994. Beginning with the 1995 events the competition was split into two competitions: Aero Design East and Aero Design West.

SAE Aero Design® West

First Competition - 1995
Organizing Institutions - SAE and the annual host institution

1995 Competition Data Number of registered teams: 22
Number of participating students: 86

2016 Competition Data Number of registered teams: 75
Number of participating students: 570
Site: Apollo 11 Field, Encino, CA