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Fly Your Ideas competition

Airbus inspires the next generation to innovate for the future of aviation

Fly Your Ideas is a biennial competition which provides a unique opportunity for students to work together in diverse teams to stretch their imaginations and tackle the most important challenges facing the aviation industry. It’s a chance for students to apply their classroom learning and research to real-world challenges to envision solutions for the sustainable aviation industry of the future. Since Fly Your Ideas launched in 2008, more than 15,000 students have registered to participate, from over 600 universities in more than 100 countries worldwide.

The competition involves three increasingly competitive rounds leading to a live final. Teams composed of three to five students are supported by an academic mentor from one of the team member’s institutions. It also offers students an exceptional learning opportunity to work with a team of aviation professionals at Airbus and the chance to win a top prize of €30,000. 

Since 2012, the competition has been supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the granting of a patronage. This commitment was renewed in 2014 with the signing of a partnership between UNESCO and Airbus for the Fly Your Ideas competition.

Fly Your Ideas demonstrates Airbus’ commitment to the future of aviation. As a part of its Future by Airbus programme – a vision for sustainable aviation in 2050 and beyond – Fly Your Ideas provides a platform to engage and interact with young talent from around the globe. 

The 2015 competition

Fly Your Ideas 2015 winner: Team MULTIFUN from Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Fly Your Ideas 2015 marked the fourth edition of the global competition and – as in the previous contests – was open to students of any nationality or discipline, ranging from engineering to marketing; science to design. Students were asked to submit ideas relating to one or more of the six biggest challenges facing the sustainable aviation industry of the future.

Round One of the 2015 competition attracted more than 500 worldwide entries, from which 100 teams were selected to continue on to Round Two. During the second phase, each team was assigned an Airbus mentor from volunteers across the company, and Airbus experts provided support as teams developed their ideas into a detailed project. The 100 teams comprised 413 students representing 48 different nationalities.

Five teams subsequently were chosen for Round 3:

  • Team MULTIFUN, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
    Idea: “Good vibrations” energy-harvesting skin
  • Team BIRDPORT, The University of Tokyo, Japan
    Idea: Drone-guided “birdport”
  • Team AFT-BURNER-REVERSER, Northwestern Polytechnical University, China
    Idea: Game console-inspired infra-red guidance system 
  • Team RETROLLEY, University of São Paulo, Brazil
    Idea: Faster trolley trash
  • Team BOLLEBOOS, City University London, UK
    Idea: Wireless and greener ground operations

Diversity is a key driver of innovation and performance and the 2015 finalists represented the most diverse line-up in the competition’s history, comprising of eight nationalities from nine universities, with a mix of engineering and non-engineering backgrounds and a higher percentage of female students than ever before.

The final round of the competition was held in May 2015 in Hamburg, where the five shortlisted teams presented their innovative concepts to a prestigious jury of Airbus and industry experts – with Team MULTIFUN  ultimately taking home the top honours. 

The winning team of students Sathiskumar Anusuya Ponnusami (team leader), Shashank Agrawal, Dhamotharan Veerasamy, Mohit Gupta and Ajith Moses were awarded the prestigious trophy and the top prize of €30,000. 

This team’s idea entailed aircraft wings dressed in a composite skin that harvests energy from natural vibrations or flex in the wings. Piezoelectric fibres gather electrical charges from even the smallest movements during flight, storing the energy generated in battery panels integrated in the fuselage and using it to power auxiliary in-flight systems, such as lighting and entertainment systems. This reduces the energy footprint of aircraft during flight and could even replace the entire power source for ground operations.

The competition’s runner-up – which shared a prize of €15,000 – was Team RETROLLEY.

For more information on Fly Your Ideas 2015, visit

Previous editions

Fly Your Ideas 2009

The inaugural Fly Your Ideas challenge culminated in 2009, attracted a total of more than 2,350 students. The multinational Team COz from the University of Queensland in Australia won this edition with their project to apply a natural fibre composite made from castor plants in aircraft cabins. 

Fly Your Ideas 2011

Team Wings of Phoenix from China’s Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics earned top honours among 2,620 students for suggesting a ground-based wind power generation system derived from aircraft wakes. 

Fly Your Ideas 2013

For the competition’s third edition, more than 600 teams, consisting of more than 2,500 students submitted ideas. They were asked to focus on solutions to six challenges facing the aviation industry identified by Airbus: energy, efficiency, affordable growth, traffic growth, passenger experience and community friendliness.  Team Levar from the University of São Paulo in Brazil won, with an innovative idea for loading and unloading luggage from aircraft using an air cushion – similar to the concept of an air hockey table game.

Keep in touch with Fly Your Ideas

The 2015 edition of Fly Your Ideas is now finished, but you can still keep up to date with the latest news on the competition by signing up for our Fly Your newsletter.  

In addition, there are regular updates on previous participants, insights into Airbus and other topics of interest on the Fly Your Ideas website. You can also join Let’s Connect, where the global Airbus Fly Your Ideas community networks, connects and shares their interest in innovation and the future of aviation.



Did you know?

"In the last 40 years, the aviation industry has cut fuel burn and CO2 emissions by70%, NOx emissions by 90% and noise by 75%."

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