The Regular Class competition is where the playing field is leveled. Teams are restricted from using any reinforced fibers within the aircraft (no fiberglass, carbon fiber, Kevlar, etc) while finding a design that allows for maximum payload lifting capability. The SAE Aero Design Rules Committee controls the power limiter, thus requiring teams to find the best aircraft design to optimize performance. Aircraft are limited to sixty-five pounds (65 lb) including the payload and the empty weight of the aircraft. Aircraft are also restricted in sizing to a set total dimension size (Length + Width + Height). Accurately predicting the lifting capacity of the aircraft is an important part of the exercise, as prediction bonus points often determine the difference in placement between competing teams. Additionally, the aircraft must be designed such that the payload can be securely loaded and unloaded within one minute (1 min), which also requires the wing to be easily detached and attached while maintaining integrity and strength in flight.
The 2014 – 2017 period ushered in the Electric Era of the Regular Class competition. Aircraft are now required to be powered from an electric motor (this has previously been a gas engine competition). Each aircraft must also have a competition specified power limiter. The total dimension size limitation was also reduced to one hundred seventy-five inches (175 in) from two hundred twenty-five inches (225 in) – a reduction of over four feet (4 ft)! .
Regular class will be divided into 3 phases as follows
Phase 1: Technical report Teams will electronically submit their proposals for competition detailing how their design has met or exceeded the design requirements.
Phase 2: Technical Presentation and Inspection
Phase 2A – Payload Loading Demonstration (timed event during Oral Presentation).
Phase 2B – Payload Unloading Demonstration (timed event during Oral Presentation)
Phase C – Oral Presentation
Phase 3: Flight Competition