It Flies! A Unique Flying Competition.

Our Merlin flight simulation laboratory provides aerospace students with a unique opportunity to showcase their designs through It Flies! USA and UK competitions. The  competitions are held at the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, USA, in April and Swansea, Wales, UK, in June. Air Force lieutenant colonels, majors and generals from the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) "fly" the student-designed simulations and contribute significantly to the students' aircraft design knowledge-base. Click here for more information about our Merlin Flight Simulator Lab.

June 2017 Competition Results: It Flies! at University of Manchester, UK

  • First: The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Sam Le Poole, ATLAS – unmanned blended wing body cargo freighter
  • Second: The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Mike Hartman, E-SPARC, an electrically sustainably propelled aerobatic racing aircraft.
  • Third: The University of Manchester, Ugne Kiudulaite and Ruta Marcinkeviciute. Design: Light, closed-wing, single-engine aircraft design

Most Innovative Design

  • The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Mike Hartman. Design: E-SPARC, an electrically sustainable, propelled aerobatic racing aircraft

Best Project Presentation

  • The University of Dayton, Hunter Johnston and Jacob Korczyk. Design (pictured above): Crop duster

Click here to read the article in the October 2017 issue of the Aero Society's Aerospace Magazine.

It Flies! USA 2017

Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP). All entries were flown and assessed on the MP521 Engineering Flight Simulator at UD.

First: The University of Manchester, Yufei Jin, Ana Gea Espinos and Thomas Moissinac. Two-person, short-range VTOL aircraft with electrical propulsion system.
Second: The University of Dayton, Ryan Vince. Boeing 757-200.
Third: The University of Dayton, Hunter Johnston, Jacob Korczyk and Mark Susong. Crop duster.

Prizes for the Most Innovative Design: The University of Manchester, Charles-Antoine Lassonery, Kavin Kumar and Seiya Sato. Hybrid aircraft with better performance and efficiency compared to B757 and A321neo.

Prizes for the Best Project Presentation: 
First: The University of Manchester VTOL aircraft.
Second: The University of Manchester Hybrid aircraft.
Third: The University of Dayton, Tim Gerham, Acrobatic aircraft.

Click here to read the article in the August 2017 issue of the Aero Society's Aerospace Magazine.

It Flies! USA 2016

The It Flies competition at the University of Dayton was held Saturday, April 9. There were 7 teams from Manchester University, United Kingdom and the University of Dayton. 

  • First Prize: Manchester University teams tied for their swept wing fighter jet and their helicopter designs.
  • Third Prize: Mark Sutkowy (pictured at left), University of Dayton, for his light sport aircraft design.
  • Most Innovative Design: Manchester University’s rotary wing design team.
  • Best Presentation Prize: Manchester’s rotary wing design team.

It Flies! UK 2016

Swansea University organized It Flies! UK 2016 with judges from the members of the Empire Test Pilots School, Dr. David Philpott from IHS/ESDU and Barry Swainston from the Flight Simulation Group of The Royal Aeronautical Society.

  • First Prize: University of Manchester team designed a blended wing body commercial aircraft.
  • Second Prize:  Sheffield Hallam University team replicated a Red Bull racer and their design tied with their design for a rotary wing for a small- to medium-sized utility helicopter.
  • Best Project Presentation: Bob Ives from Teeside University.
  • Most Innovative Design: A tie between Swansea University's team for their short haul regional aircraft designed to utilize partial electric power to aid in fuel reduction mainly during the climb-out phase of flight and The University of South Wales team for their large aircraft design modeled on the A380 featuring a Prandtl Plane configuration.

It Flies! USA 2015

The Presentation winners: 1) Alex Watt (UD) - Light Sport Aircraft 2) Katelyn Dvorsky (UD) - Transport/Freighter 3) Vaz Gorasia and Ben Lewis (Manchester University) - Supersonic Swing Wing.

The Flight Handling winners: 1) Matt Pulfer (UD) - Light General Aviation Twin Engine Airplane 2) Vaz Gorasia and Ben Lewis (Manchester University) 3) Alex Watt (UD).

“The It Flies USA competition is an incredible opportunity that allows students to see their aircraft designs come to life. The Merlin flight simulator is a unique and unparalleled tool that aids in the creation of a polished final aircraft design. The competition is a good way to gain test pilot feedback on an aircraft design . . . It is a rewarding experience when your aircraft is programmed into the simulator, and you see it take flight for the first time. . . Overall, the simulator and the competition create a type of learning environment that cannot be achieved in the classroom alone.” —Matt Pulfer

Click here for video.

It Flies! UK 2015

The University of Dayton It Flies! team, Matt Pulfer and Alex Watt, tied for first place with Glyndwr University and won half of the £800 prize, the Harrier Trophy and an affiliate membership of The Royal Aeronautical Society during the June 10 It Flies! UK competition. Matt and Alex did a super presentation, and the test pilots were impressed with their simulation of the Wright B Flyer Silver Bird. Swansea, Manchester, Sheffield Hallam and Cambridge universities also competed at It Flies! UK 2015.

"Having experienced the USA competition, it truly was a treat to compete in the UK competition. The designs and projects were all extremely innovative, and I enjoyed seeing what students had to offer from another continent. The competition is such a great event for students who share the same passion for the aerospace industry, and the flight sim is such a unique way to learn and grow as aerospace engineers. The opportunity to showcase our work in the UK was something that I will never forget." —Alex Watt

"The Dayton, Ohio, USA, and the Swansea, Wales, UK, competitions were once in a lifetime experiences that will help me going forward in my career . . . allowed me to meet peers from around the world . . . and provided trained test pilots to fly one's aircraft design, which is rarely performed. I highly recommend that students with the opportunity to partake in any It Flies activity take advantage of it, it can help propel students to the next level." —Matt Pulfer


Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Kettering Laboratories 361 
300 College Park 
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0238