2023 PACE Future Innovators Award

in Aircraft Preliminary Design regulations

Competition details



Teams shall be composed of a minimum of 3 (three) and a maximum of 4 (four) students regularly enrolled in the same University at application time.


Every team shall appoint its Team Leader and communicate their name. 

Team Leaders will be the one and only contact point with PACE Contest organisation.

Eligible students

Only BSc and MSc students are eligible to join a team. PhD candidates are excluded.

Member substitution

Teams’ composition shall not change throughout the duration of the competition. Therefore, no team member substitution will be accepted after the finalisation of the application procedure.

Minimum number of members per team

Any team member can withdraw their membership from a team but should the number of active team members fall below 3 (three), the team will be decommissioned.

Maximum number of participating teams

A maximum number of fifteen (15) participating teams is established.

Design topic


Two regions in northern Italy (Lombardia and Veneto) will host the Winter Olympic games in 2026.

The sites involved in this event are illustrated in the picture above.

Among the different airports involved in the event, consider the following:

  • Milano Malpensa (LIMC)
  • Milano Linate (LIML)
  • Verona Villafranca (LIPX)
  • Venezia Tessera (LIPZ)
  • Sondrio Caiolo (LILO)
  • Cortina d’Ampezzo (LIDI)

It is expected that most of the foreign athletes will arrive in Italy landing either at Milano Malpensa (LIMC) or at Venezia Tessera (LIPZ) international airport.

These persons need to be transferred to the venues where the games will take place.

Design topic definition

Design topic is divided in two parts. An Objective Design Topic, which sets the characteristics of the machine to be conceived by the Teams, will be complemented by a Creative Design Topic, in which Teams will show how the Aircraft designed for the Objective Design Topic could benefit from technological advancements.

Objective Design Topic

Design an all-electric aircraft and size it with respect to the most demanding mission, which has been identified as LIMC to LIDI.
Benchmark the performance of the designed aircraft towards the other missions.

  • Aircraft should be capable of carrying non less than 4 PAX (85 kg + 15 kg luggage) + Pilot.
  • Consider as baseline 2022 technology maturity level for electrical powertrain components, as shown in Table 1. Should you judge it necessary/suitable, adopt of 2035 levels motivating your decision.
  • Obey CS-23 MTOM limitation.
  • LIDI airport is currently closed, but pretend it is operative an get its data from here.
  • Deign the route and, accordingly, your A/C so that is guarantees non less than 1000 ft of vertical separation from the highest overflown obstacle.
  • Total energy per payload mass unit used for performing a return flight shall be assessed and minimised.
  • Adoption of methods (e.g., mass estimation, aerodynamic estimation) not natively implemented in APD is a viable option but shall be documented and justified.

Table 1: Estimates for technology maturity level for electrical powertrain components

Component Units 2022 2035 2050
Battery Energy Density [Wh/kg] 210 350 1873*
Battery Power Density [W/kg] 1365 2275 5619*
Motor Power Density [W/kg] 5750 11100 16450**


Creative Design Topic

Consider technology maturity level for electrical powertrain components foreseen for an Enter In Service (EIS) in 2050, as shown in Table 1.

Unleash your imagination and show how, potentially applying slight modifications to the aircraft you have designed for the objective topic, the technology advancements will impact as enabler of novel possibilities in terms of usage, mission, configuration, etc.

Design Project requirements

The following aspects shall be covered in the submitted objective design project.

  • Evidence of the capture of the design topics requirements or motivation for the non-satisfaction.
  • Justification for the adopted technical approach.
  • Description of the trade-off studies that led to the proposed configuration.
  • Assessment of areas potentially problematic from a technical standpoint and identified mitigation strategies.

Design Project Submission

Submission window

For information on submission window opening and closing dates, please refer to Schedule.


Design Project should be sent by the Team Leader to the official address of the organization of the contest: pace-contest@euroavia.eu.

A confirmation email will be received by the team within 24h from the submission.

Submission content

Teams Design Project submission shall contain the following items.

For the Objective Design Topic:

  • The APD project file.
  • If applicable, Knowledge Designer and any other file that will permit the commission to load the design project and solve it with Pacelab APD.
  • A pdf report file written using the official template. Maximum length (all included): 20 pages.

Detailed instructions on what to upload and report template will be given at proper time.

For the Creative Design Topic:

  • Power Point presentation pitching the conceived (5 slides max).
Participation fee reimbursement

All Teams that will submit a valid proposal will be reimbursed their participation fees.



The evaluation commission will be nominated by PACE.

Its members will be selected from aircraft preliminary design experts among PACE specialist(s) and Pacelab APD professional users’ community.

A Commission observer member will be designated by EUROAVIA.


Objective Design Topic grading

Teams’ projects will be graded by the commission with respect to the following subjects:

  • Requirements capture
  • Technological feasibility
  • Innovation introduced
  • Report quality
Creative Design Topic grading

Teams’ projects will be evaluated by the commission with respect to the following subjects:

  • Breadth, originality and potentiality of the proposed innovations.
  • Feasibly with relevant EIS year technology level.
Overall grade

Overall grade will be obtained combing the two design topic grades with these weights:


Design topic Weight
Objective 75%
Creative 25%


PACE contest provides for prizes for the three shortlisted teams as well as additional prizes for the winning team.

For all three shortlisted teams
  • Teams’ design projects and members bio will be published on PACE and EUROAVIA websites.
  • Up of a total of 600 € per team of reimbursement of travel + accommodation costs to come Berlin for the concluding event. Reimbursement will be granted upon submission of all relevant receipts.
For the winning team

In addition to what mentioned above, for the winning team:

  • Up to a total of 1000 € (for the whole team) of reimbursement of travel + accommodation + entry ticket costs for visiting a relevant aeronautical event during 2023. Reimbursement will be granted upon submission of all relevant receipts.

How to apply


For information on application window opening and closing dates, please refer to Schedule.

Acceptance policy

Teams will be accepted applying a first-come, first-served policy.

Additionally, variety of participating universities will be privileged, so the available places will first be assigned to the first applying team of every university. Should any place remain available, it will be granted to the second team(s) from and already accepted university(ies), and so forth.

Acceptance notification

Teams will be notified whether they have been accepted by means of an email sent to the Team Leader.

Participation fee


The participation fee amount for every team shall be calculated taking in consideration the number of team members and their affiliation to EUROAVIA according to the following scheme:

  • EUROAVIA members: €15 per person.
  • Non-EUROAVIA members: €25 per person.

The amount will shall be paid by the Team Leader for the whole team.

Important remarks:

  • EUROAVIA International will verify the membership status for every member in every team and reserves the right to issue the extra fee in to each non-EUROAVIA or inactive EUROAVIA member.
  • Participation fee is non-refundable. Shall, for whatever reason, any team member resign, the participation fee will not be reimbursed.
  • Participation fee will be reimbursed upon submission of a valid design.
Due date

Participation fee is due by every accepted Team within  72 hours from acceptance notification. Failure to obey this deadline will cause the Team to be excluded from the contest.

Payment method

All details about the payment method will be provided in the acceptance notification email.


Date Milestone
28/09/2022 Opening of Application window
21/10/2022 Closing of Application window
26/10/2022 Notification of acceptance
31/10/2022 Confirmation of acceptance
03/11/2022 Kickoff event
20/02/2023 Opening of submission window
28/02/2023 Closing of submission window
15/04/2023 Notification of the three shortlisted teams
03/05/2023 Concluding event

*The present regulation may be subject to amendments, that will be promptly notified to all participants

Software licence

Every team member will receive a license that will unlock a fully featured version of Pacelab APD.

Such license will be time-limited to the end of the concluding event.

By applying to the Contest, team members commit to a fair usage of the Pacelab APD software.

Fair usage implies that Pacelab APD shall exclusively be used for developing the design project for PACE contest. Any other use, including but not limited to use for any other academic purposes, in third party contracts, in research activities, is considered to be NOT fair.

Intellectual property

All IP developed by teams within the competition will sole be property of PACE.

Should any patent be deposited, authors contribution will be rewarded recognising them as inventors with no further remuneration.

Should any part of the teams’ projects be included in any of the PACE products, authors names will be explicitly recognised within the software accompanying documentation.