Team Wings of Phoenix from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics wins Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2011 competition

Team Wings of Phoenix from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics wins Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2011 competition

Students win €30,000 for their idea of a ground-based wind power generation system derived from aircraft wakes

23 June 2011 Press Release

The first prize of €30,000 in Airbus’ Fly Your Ideas 2011 competition was awarded to Team Wings of Phoenix from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (China) at a ceremony held at the International Paris Air Show – Le Bourget today. The team members, along with all the finalists, will also be offered an internship at Airbus. The Airbus Fly Your Ideas (FYI) biennial contest challenges students worldwide to develop new ideas to deliver a more eco-efficient aviation industry for the future. 

Team Wings of Phoenix won for their suggestion of a ground-based wind power generation system that exploits the wakes of aircraft generated during takeoff and landing. Their idea involves the placement of a series of leaf-shaped devices along the sides of airport runways that are perturbed by passing aircraft, recovering energy that is otherwise lost. The team considered the electro-mechanical conceptual design of their ‘leaves’ and the potential to generate electrical power while meeting airport safety regulations. 

The winning team is comprised of: Xinyuan Zheng, Lijun Pan, Xianmei Wu, Xuesong Liu and Kai Xu. 

“To participate in the 2011 Fly Your Ideas challenge was a great experience for us. We are very proud to be the winning team and hope our idea will inspire the industry,” said Xinyuan Zheng, spokesperson for Team Wings of Phoenix. 

The runner-up prize of €15,000 went to Team Condor from Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María in Chile for their proposal on an alternative design for aerodynamic speed brakes to recover energy for on-board reuse. 

Spanish team ‘Ecolution’, from the Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid, was awarded the Best Video prize for the creative way they presented their project, the implementation of light-weight natural fibre composites in aircraft cargo containers.

Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO, said: “Innovation is the essential ingredient for maintaining our industry’s license to grow, and the Fly Your Ideas competition is a unique opportunity for students worldwide to promote their ideas for the sustainable future of flight. It is also a strong lever to engage with the next generation of talent who will push the limits of research and technology further.” -

Charles Champion, Airbus Executive Vice President Engineering and Patron of Fly Your Ideas, said: “This year’s record number of 315 teams from everywhere around the world entering the competition demonstrates a strong interest in aviation and Airbus. The level of enthusiasm, creativity and thinking ‘outside the box’ has been remarkably rewarding.”

Thierry Baril, Airbus Executive Vice President Human Resources, said: “I am thrilled and inspired by the level of skill we have encountered. This year all members of the five finalist teams as well as the Video Prize winners will be offered an internship at Airbus, and maybe they’ll go on to become part of our future talent.” 

The final round of the year-long challenge culminated this week as the five finalist teams presented their proposals to a special jury consisting of selected Airbus representatives and high-profile industry experts. 

The global challenge, which was launched in July 2010, drew entries from more than 2,600 students from 75 countries, representing 287 universities. Students were asked to propose an idea related to one stage of the aircraft’s lifecycle: design, supply chain, manufacturing, aircraft operations or aircraft end-of-life. 

The unique nature of the Fly Your Ideas challenge is that it gives students the chance to develop teamwork, enhance their creativity and innovation skills, and improve project management as well as presentation skills. Students have close interaction with Airbus staff benefitting from Airbus expertise and insight into the global aviation industry which currently supports 33 million jobs worldwide and is a substantial contributor to global commerce.

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