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Fly Your Ideas competition

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

Airbus challenged students to develop innovative ideas for aviation’s future with the fourth edition of its global competition: Fly Your Ideas 2015.

Fly Your Ideas is a biennial contest which provides a unique opportunity for students to work together in diverse teams to stretch their imaginations and consider how to reinvent the norms associated with air travel – from incremental changes to completely reconsidering  the aircraft industry as we know it today.

The biennial competition – supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – enables students to put their classroom learning and research to the test, working on real-world challenges to explore ground-breaking new concepts and solutions. This contest offers students an exceptional learning opportunity by working with a team of aviation professionals to apply their creativity for a chance of winning €30,000 and a week behind the scenes at Airbus. 

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 is open to students of any nationality or discipline – from engineering to marketing; science to design – enabling them to develop skills for a wide range of future careers. The competition involves three increasingly competitive rounds leading to the final. 

The teams, composed of 3-5 students each, are supported by an academic mentor from one of the team member’s institutions for the first round, in which they pitch their innovative idea addressing key challenges for aviation.

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 this second phase, each team was assigned an Airbus mentor from volunteers across the company, as well as an Airbus expert to provide support as they 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 during late May 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 first place. 

In addition to the coveted trophy, the winning team of students Sathiskumar Anusuya Ponnusami (team leader), Shashank Agrawal, Dhamotharan Veerasamy, Mohit Gupta and Ajith Moses received the top prize of €30,000. 

This team’s idea entails 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

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. 

In 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. 

For the competition’s third edition, more than 600 teams, consisting of more than 2,500 students submitted ideas for Fly Your Ideas 2013, which focussed 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.



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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