The Great American Aero Derby (GAAD) National Competition is an annual event to be held in July.


Please check back for the exact timeline of this year’s competition.

Note: In the event of rain, the competition may be delayed until the rain ends. The decision is up to the contest director.

Free Practice

Competitors may test any number of aircraft during the practice sessions on the day before the competition in the designated areas. There will be no practice allowed in the official contest area after the competition begins.

Age Requirements

GAAD Gold Division: You need to be a full-time student between 15 and 18 years of age on the day of the national competition you plan to participate in.
GAAD Silver Division: You need to be a full-time student between 10 and 14 years of age on the day of the national competition you plan to participate in.

GAAD Design Challenge: The lead designer needs to meet the age requirements for the GAAD silver or gold divisions. Competitors may work alone or with one helper. There are no age requirements for the helper.

Rules and Regulations

In case you have questions about the rules and/or regulations, please talk to the contest director at the competition. You can also send an email with your question and/or concern after logging on to and click on email.


Age Requirements

Silver Division:
Full-time student between the ages of 10 and 14 on the day of the official national competition.

Gold Division:
Full-time student between the ages of 15 and 18 on the day of the official national competition.

Aircraft legal to participate
All participants may construct the following aircraft from official AeroRacers kits:
AF-6 Mistral
AF-88 Silver Eagle
AF-89 Golden Eagle

Mandatory Aircraft Requirements

The aircraft must retain overall original kit appearance. The airfoil, wing chord, wing span and overall length must remain stock. The propeller must be of one piece injection molded design.

The aircraft may be lightened but must retain the overall original shape. Condenser paper is not permitted as a replacement for the wing skin, but lighter competition paper like Japanese tissue is allowed.

Decency Act

All decorations must be in good taste. There will be absolutely no advertising of tobacco or alcohol products on the aircraft.

Flight Rules

The aircraft will be hand launched outdoors by the competitor. A maximum of 1 minute to launch the aircraft will be allowed, beginning when the competitor hands his/her timing sheet to the official timer. The stopwatch will be activated the moment the aircraft leaves the competitor’s hand. The stopwatch will be stopped when the aircraft touches the ground, stops flying as it hits a building/obstacle or flies out of sight.

If a glider has not detached from the high start and does not free-fly 30 seconds after launch, it is considered a false start with 30 seconds being awarded for the flight


The competition will be timed and recorded using a stopwatch accurate to 1/100 second. A 120.00 second (2 minutes) time will be the maximum attainable flight time for each flight.

There are two official timers that will time the aircraft’s flight.

Total Flight Time

Competitors may fly five glider flights with the three best times in each category recorded. Total flight time will be calculated as the sum of the three best powered flights and the three best glider flights.

Record Flights

Official GAAD records can only be flown during the official competition or in a mock competition during an official aero derby camp or regional GAAD competition. Should an aircraft fly longer than two minutes, one of the official timers will continue to time your aircraft until it touches the ground, hits an obstacle/building or flies out of sight. All record flights are shown on the GAAD website.