Flexible Aircraft System Testbed (FAST)

Fall 2012 – Spring 2013
Course 16.82 / 16.821 / 16.885
During the capstone course, MIT successfully designed, constructed, and flew two UAVs – one man-portable field-assembled vehicle (6 ft wingspan and 0.5 lb payload) and one multi-mission vehicle (11 ft wingspan and single 2 lb payload). A modular system architecture was developed using common tooling and components (for wings, spars, spine, joiners), common fuselage pod (adjustable CG, flexible payloads), and COTS components (power systems, communications and control).


The most recent Capstone Project teamed with Professor John Hansman’s Flight Engineering course to design, build, and fly scalable unmanned aerial vehicle prototypes. Using common design practices, tooling, and components, they built a family of three unmanned platforms custom tailored for specific missions:

  • A small UAV for hand-launch (6 ft wingspan)
  • A medium-sized UAV for larger payloads (11 ft wingspan)
  • A large UAV for long endurance (14 ft wingspan)