A brief timeline of AirPad’s history:


July 2010

  • AirPad is founded with 5 members and 1 faculty advisor

August 22, 2010

  • AirPad is recognized as an Iowa State University Student Organization.

Fall Semester (August – December) 2010

  • AirPad solidifies itself as a student organization on campus, recruiting members and forming committees to begin work towards AirPad’s mission.
  • Rockwell Collins, Inc. becomes the first corporate sponsor of AirPad.

Spring Semester (January – May 2011)

  • Design work begins on the proof-of-concept model for AirPad’s UAV-based remote sensing platform.
  • Aerial Services, Inc. becomes the second corporate sponsor of AirPad.

Fall Semester 2011

  • Design work begins on the proof-of-concept for AirPad’s electronics and imaging packages, including an autopilot, and camera system.
  • Fabrication begins on the proof-of-concept UAV.

Spring Semester 2012

  • AirPad has more than 20 student members.
  • The executive board expands to 11 positions.
  • Design is completed, and fabrication started on the electronics and imaging packages for the proof-of-concept model.
  • Fabrication on the proof-of-concept UAV (now named “MARK 1”) continues.
  • AirPad launches its K-12 outreach program, with it’s first event being the Edwards Elementary Science Night, held in Ames, IA.

Fall 2012 – Spring 2015

  • AirPad has built and tested 2 aircraft and is preparing the 3rd for a fully autonomous test flight.
  • Commander Dan Buhr becomes an Adviser for the group bringing experience, enthusiasm, and knowledge with almost 20 years of helicopter testing experience in the Navy.
  • AirPad is now affiliated with the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and has acquired a new lab in 1208 Sukup.

Fall 2015 – Now

  • Partnered with Cardinal Flight, a project within Make to Innovate (M:2:I), AirPad continues to build and test UAV aircrafts
  • Designed and built Compass, Airpad’s 4th aircraft
  • Began work on Arrow, our latest and grandest aircraft, scheduled to be completed at the end of Spring 2017