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Fly Your Ideas competition

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

Since the Fly Your Ideas competition launched in 2008, students from around the globe have competed to provide creative solutions to challenges facing the aviation industry.

Fly Your Ideas is a biennial competition that provides students the opportunity to work together in diverse teams to stretch their imaginations and tackle 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 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.

Since Fly Your Ideas launched in 2008, more than 20,000 students have registered to participate, from over 650 universities in more than 100 countries around the world.

Fly Your Ideas demonstrates Airbus’ commitment to the future of aviation. The competition provides a platform to engage and interact with young talent from around the globe. Students are encouraged to form teams that are as diverse as possible. They are offered the opportunity to co-innovate with Airbus on real challenges as they develop valuable skills for their future careers. This includes learning teamwork, project management, as well as communications skills.

The competition involves three increasingly competitive rounds leading to a live final. Projects are assessed by Airbus experts and all teams get feedback as early as Round 1. The teams selected for Round 2 get significant input and guidance from Airbus mentors to develop their idea into a detailed project. Five teams are selected for Round 3, where students are asked to test, prototype or visualise their solutions. Finally, the teams present their projects to an expert jury at the final event, where the winning team wins a prize of €30,000 and the runners up €15,000.

Fly Your Ideas 2017


With its latest Fly Your Ideas competition, Airbus challenged students worldwide to submit solutions to genuine industry challenges that either are innovations for “now” or innovations for the “future;” guaranteeing a cross section of ideas that are both applicable today and deliver ‘blue sky’ thinking for tomorrow. The key challenges submitted to students are:

Team DAELead, from the University of Hong Kong, won Airbus' 2017 Fly Your Ideas competition with an innovative design for a private stowage compartment situated underneath a passenger's feet.
  • Business models: What else could be done with aircraft other than transportation?
  • Flight operations: How can big data be used to improve efficiency of flight operations?
  • Passenger experience: How can new processes or layouts ease passenger boarding and disembarking, whilst increasing capacity for luggage?
  • Design engineering: How can artificial intelligence support aircraft design and/or manufacturing?
  • Manufacturing: How can manufacturing be disruptively improved to reduce waste and ensure the sustainability of resources?

With 5,499 entries received from students in 89 countries around the world, the 2017 competition attracted record interest. 

Team DAELead of the University of Hong Kong won the competition – and the €30,000 prize – with their design of a private stowage compartment situated underneath a passenger's feet, a simple but effective solution for an improved passenger experience. 

The runners up, team Aquarius from Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, were awarded €15,000 for their radical concept that turns a commercial airliner into a tool to stop rapid wildfire.

Previous editions

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

Fly Your Ideas 2015 

The fourth edition of Fly Your Ideas attracted more than 500 worldwide entries. 100 teams were selected to continue on to Round 2 and five teams were shortlisted for Round 3. Team Multifun (from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands) ultimately took home the top honours. 

This team’s idea entailed aircraft wings dressed in a composite skin that harvests energy from natural vibrations or flex in the wings. The competition’s runner-up was Team Retrolley (from the University of São Paulo in Brazil) who designed a trolley able to optimise waste management on-board.  

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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. 

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 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. 


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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