SAE Aero Design West

April 12-14, 2024 | Van Nuys, California

Spectator Policies and Procedures


"Spectator" - A "spectator" is defined as anyone who is not (a) a volunteer with event operating responsibilities, or (b) a member of a team with the proper credentials/identification. In most cases event operating volunteers and team members can be identified by their t-shirts, uniforms, or credentials.

Spectators are welcome to observe CDS competitions from within the designated spectator areas and other parts of the site to which they are granted access. Spectators may not enter the course area. Spectators must always obey the spectator rules and site use rules and follow the instructions of the competition organizers and marshals.



SAE International is a responsible partner, committed to prioritizing the health and safety of our members, customers, partners, participants, and staff. Currently, we require all conference participants either have a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result within 72 hours of an event. As travel and gathering guidance evolves, we will continue to follow protocols established by international health authorities as well as all local, state, and federal government mandates and recommendations. Please continue to monitor all official news channels for updates on each competition/event as pending the location these could be different.

Drone Use

Drone use is prohibited at all SAE Collegiate competitions unless under contract with SAE International.

Permitted Access - Spectators may enter:

  • Designated spectator areas - Spectator areas are always outside the course.
  • Team paddocks
  • Parking lots, food vendor areas, rest rooms and connecting walkways, roads or paths

Restricted Access - Spectators may not enter:

  • Technical Inspection Area including practice and testing sites
  • Static Event Areas and areas where vehicles/planes are operating/running
  • Any Dynamic Areas, Courses, or Flight Line
  • Any area with signs indicating "Restricted Access" or "No Access"

Spectators may not sit or stand on any barriers or fences.

Spectators may not wear open toed shoes at the event site.

Spectators who enter a restricted area may be ejected from the site.

Intrusion Shut Down

If a spectator intrudes on an unauthorized area during an event, then immediate shut down of the event will occur until the course is clear.

Team Members

Student team members who are not part of the dynamic event crew are considered to be spectators and must be treated like all other spectators. There are no exceptions for students. No matter what the reason student spectators may not enter the area unless authorized.

No Exceptions

There are no exceptions to the spectator rules. If a spectator does not follow the rules then he/she can be asked to leave the site.


If a spectator crosses into an operating area or event course he/she must immediately be asked to return to the spectator area and, if appropriate, can be asked to leave the competition.

Photographer Policy

All photography must be done from within the designated spectator areas.  Photographers who wander outside the spectator and photographer areas will be asked to leave.