Fly Your Ideas competition

Envisioning a greener air transport industry

Airbus’ Fly Your Ideas competition challenges students from around the globe to develop new concepts for a more efficient aviation industry. 

This biennial challenge features teams competing in multiple rounds of evaluation by company and aviation industry judges. The event engages university students from all backgrounds while also highlighting Airbus’ commitment to aviation’s future. Fly Your Ideas is part of the “Talent” pillar of the aircraft manufacturer’s “Future by Airbus” programme – the company’s vision of air travel in 2050 – and identifies potential research and technology initiatives.

Multiple rounds of competition

Teams present their innovation and explain the concept’s key features and benefits in the competition’s first phase, with selected teams asked to transform their ideas into projects during the second round.  The teams – composed of three to five students – will be asked to identify an “academic mentor” from one of the team members’ institutions to lend support in the development of their proposal.  In the second round, each team also will be assigned an “Airbus mentor,” selected from volunteers across various departments at the company, to provide support with the direction and structure of their project.

Finalists are then chosen to introduce their initiative to Airbus and industry experts during a live finale – with the top team winning €30,000, and €15,000 going to the runner-up. 

Past winners and future innovation

The inaugural Fly Your Ideas challenge culminated with a judging in 2009, attracting a total of more than 2,350 students.  A multinational team from the University of Queensland in Australia won with its project to apply a natural fibre composite made from castor plants in aircraft cabins. In 2011, a team from China’s Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics earned top honors among 2,620 students for suggesting a ground-based wind power generation system derived from aircraft wakes. 

For the competition’s 2013 edition, more than 600 teams – consisting of more than 2,500 students – submitted ideas for the 2013 edition of Fly Your Ideas, which focussed on solutions to six 21st century challenges 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. 

The overwhelming student in 2013 response marked a new record for the challenge, and doubled the corresponding count from 2011. 

Fly Your Ideas is supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).


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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