Aero SAE

Aero SAE

It’s a bird, it’s a plane… it’s the SAE Aero aircraft! 

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Aero Design team is one of the many SAE teams at Iowa State University. But one thing that makes this team different from the others is that instead of racing on a track they race in the air. 

The Aero team designs, builds and tests a Radio Control (RC) aircraft that is flown in competition against over 75 universities from around the world. The planes are designed to transport objects similar to an airline or cargo plane. 

Aero is the newest team to the SAE organization beginning in 2015. Aero is one of the various student organizations that manufacture in the assembly bay located in the basement of the Student Innovation Center.


Aero participates in one competition each year, this three-day competition takes place in sunny Los Angeles. 

The competition consists of multiple events and classes, each with a unique goal to accomplish. Each team is evaluated based on three events: flight test, design presentation and written report.

A glimpse at the Aero team’s workspace


Aero has four subteams which allow students to choose the area they would like to focus on. Each subteam offers a unique learning experience that is applicable to their academic and career goals. 

  • Structural Team: is responsible for making Computer-aided Design (CAD) models of the plane, the structural and mechanical design of the aircraft. 
  • Aerodynamic Team: works on building all of the aerodynamic structures such as wings, tail control surfaces and more. 
  • Proportional Controls Team: tests and builds electronics of the aircraft, while working with the aerodynamic team to make the control system a reality. 
  • Business Team: works on outreach and sponsorship, which helps aero receive its numerous sponsors from Rockwell Collins to John Deere. 

The Aero team offers an experience that creates real-life scenarios and gives hands-on experiences. 

If Aero SAE is the place for you, don’t wait to join, new members are always welcome. To join, simply attend one of the meetings Wednesday at 5:30 pm in the assembly bay located in the basement of the Student Innovation Center

Want to bring your student organization to the Student Innovation Center? We have shared student organization suites that would be the perfect meeting space for your group! Learn more and submit your office request at

By Mallory Tope, Communications Assistant | Published February 14, 2022