IMechE UAS Challenge 2020

Key Calendar dates

  • Registration open: 16 September 2019
  • Registration close: 30 October 2019
  • Welcome seminar/webinar: 8 November 2019


Launched six years ago, UAS Challenge provides an educational platform to university teams to learn practical aerospace engineering skills, enhance employability opportunity in the sector and develop soft skills such as team working, leadership, commercial skills as well as technical competence.

Since its launch over 1000 students from UK and International universities participated in the competition and many have been recruited by industry partners into full time roles following their graduation.

“The UAS Challenge is an excellent introduction to the design and development process used by industry to create safe and high-performance aircraft. It will challenge your team working skills and test your approach to innovation. You will have the opportunity to demonstrate your creation in an exciting fly-off at the stunning location of the UAS test airfield in Wales. Have fun and gain some very valuable experience for your future engineering career.”
Lambert Dopping-Hepenstal, Head Judge, UAS Challenge

New features of the competition

For the 2020 competition, teams will see a few significant changes to the rules:

  • Change to mission and payload, encouraging new designs
  • Introduction of packaging box and modular assembly challenge
  • Measure of fuel/power consumption and efficiency introduced, with power logger.

“The IMechE UAS Challenge has consistently delivered a complex real world scenario in order to test and develop university students competing and provide unique recruitment opportunities for industry. The competition continues to grow for the 2020 with the refinement of the aid mission, introduction of aircraft performance monitoring and an increase to two flight lines.
“The IMechE has focused in on STEM engagement for the last two years of the competition and continues grow its STEM outreach on an international scale. The competition’s presence and accessibility to all
universities around the world, makes it a pioneer of aerospace engineering, taking input from academia and industry to evolve as required to meet the needs of the future engineering sector. The preparations are well underway for 2020 and we look forward to the biggest turn out for the UAS Challenge yet.”
Alex Robbins, UAS Challenge Project Manager

This year, for the first time, the UAS Challenge will be hosting a welcome seminar in November, where teams, volunteers, sponsors and organisers will meet to discuss the project lifecycle, project deliverables and what targets you should achieve win the Grand Champion title of the UAS Challenge.

STEM outreach programme

The UAS Challenge provides a unique opportunity to promote STEM careers to young people. Students have the opportunity to not only to witness practical engineering being demonstrated, but also the chance to speak to engineers from many different backgrounds and stages of their career.

“Seeing the enthusiasm with which the university teams interacted with the visiting students this year was fantastic. Having the students hear about engineering from people so passionate, and seeing from this event how science,  technology, engineering and maths can be applied to help solve the worlds’ problems is an invaluable inspiration to encourage young people to follow a career in engineering.”
Jon Tayler, UAS Challenge STEM Leader 

In 2019, 120 local students took part in the event onsite. Alongside talking with the university teams and seeing the air systems fly, the students were invited to participate in practical engineering workshops intended to spark an interest in following a career in engineering.

The STEM Outreach Programme aims to build up on 2019’s success for the 2020 event.

Where and when does the Challenge take place?

The UAS Challenge returns to Snowdonia Aerospace Centre in Llanbedr, Wales  from 17 June to 20 June 2020. The venue is ideal in its layout, facilities and structure as well as its appeal as a well-known drone test centre.
IMechE UAS Challenge Poster_Final small

How do I get involved?

To find out more about volunteering at, supporting sponsoring or participating in the competition visit or email

To advertise the Challenge at your university, download our poster (pdf 1.4MB).

Sponsoring the Challenge

The 2019 Challenge was sponsored by industry partners such as GKN Aerospace, Bombardier, the Welsh Government and Gwynedd Council as well as QinetiQ, Raytheon and Frazer-Nash Consultancy.