Accessibility links


Design and build a solar powered aircraft and ancillary systems. Manoeuvre it through a required course in the shortest possible flight time, as measured from the time the craft powers up until it crosses the finishing line of your group’s course. There are differing levels of complexity for each school age and study group. These are as follows:

Primary Schools                                           20 metres
Secondary Schools                                      50 metres
College, and University Students              100 metres
Apprentices                                                  100 metres


Qualifying Guidelines

Flights are released from 3 metres or a lower height. All aircraft must be unmanned and model scale. Craft must be of original design. Lighter than air vehicles and components are permitted. All craft must be able to fly, be controllable in a figure of eight and fly the distance. Manoeuvrability in flight is required. The power source for the craft’s propulsion must be solar. This might include solar panels on the wings, direct heating by the sun, etc. Biofuel-powered flights and other solutions utilizing force magnifiers are not allowed. Craft must remain visible to the naked eye at all times. If the aircraft flies out of sight, it is disqualified. Craft will not carry a required  payload or drop anything while in flight.

Team members may include students, undergraduates and graduate students, also staff and faculty members from any area of the engineering community. Multi-disciplinary collaborations are encouraged. Prior to the flight, each team must provide their written presentation to the judges. Further details of this presentation is given on receipt of your entry form. The flight shall cover the measured figure of eight for your group to qualify. Pilots must be students / apprentices. Mentors may not pilot the aircraft at the competition or give assistance. Piloting the aircraft will be by a remote control system. Each team must cover their costs by donations, contributions,  corporate sponsorships, etc.

Acknowledgement of sponsors on the aircraft by signage is permitted. Retain ALL receipts of purchases as they may be scrutinised by the judges.



A panel of judges will evaluate each aircraft, including flight performance, technical approach and innovation. In addition to the primary flight performance, the judging panel will mark the presentation to ensure that each team has worked to achieve the core values of this challenge.

Prizes will be awarded in each of the four categories:

Primary Schools
Secondary Schools
College and University Students

Additional prizes will be awarded for the teams that have shown the most innovative and creative design and for their ability to demonstrate team work and how they shared responsibilities. This will be judged on each team’s written presentation. It must demonstrate Core Values such as:

Problem Solving
Design Concept
Project Understanding


Core Values

Judges will be interviewing all team members to determine the relationship between members and their  contribution within their team. Each team will also need to outline the problems they encountered and how they reached solutions. They will also need to illustrate how they went about gaining knowledge and to who they collaborated with to complete the challenge. Certificates and trophies will be awarded to the teams that show best practice.


REgister here

to receive competition rules and Solar Challenge Guide.


Join the discussion

Please login to post a comment or reply.

Don't have an account? Click here to register.