Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2013 Teams

With over 618 teams submitting a proposal in Round 1 of the competition, Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2013 has reached students across five continents.

  • Finalists


    Check out the five finalists teamlines of Fly Your Ideas 2013.

  • Best teamlines

    Best teamlines

    In 2013 we decided to recognise the best teamlines – Take a look and get inspired by their stories.

  • Round 2 teamlines

    Round 2 teamlines

    Here you will find the entire list of round 2 teams that took part in Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2013.

Well done to the 2013 Finalists!

The time has come to reveal the five finalist teams for the 2013 Airbus Fly Your Ideas challenge. Find out more about the teams and their projects here. 

  • Team CLiMA

    Team CLiMA

    Team CLiMA, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia.

  • Team Levar

    Team Levar

    Team Levar, University of São Paulo, Brazil.

  • Team AVAS

    Team AVAS

    Team AVAS, SRM University, India.

  • Team Flybrid

    Team Flybrid

    Team Flybrid, Technical University of Milan, Italy.

  • Team Embarker

    Team Embarker

    Team Embarker, Universiti Putra Malaysia.

Team CLiMA

Team CLiMA, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology propose to develop aircraft fuelled by a blend of sustainably produced liquefied biomethane and liquefied natural gas (Bio-LNG).

To view their teamline click here

Team CLiMA

Team Levar

Team Levar, University of São Paulo, propose a luggage loading and unloading system for airplane cargo compartments to reduce the workload of airport baggage handlers with an air cushion solution inspired by air hockey tables.

To view their teamline click here

Team Levar


Team AVAS, SRM University propose to reduce propulsion noise thanks to jet exhaust shape modification using intelligent materials (shape memory alloys). These alloys are energized by harvested electricity generated by advanced thermoelectric materials using engine heat source.

To view their teamline click here


Team Flybrid

Team Flybrid, Technical University of Milan propose an electric/turboprop combination for hybrid propulsion in regional aircraft. This system uses batteries pre-charged on ground and not in-flight.

To view their teamline click here

Team Flybrid

Team Embarker

Team Embarker, Universiti Putra Malaysia propose a self-sustaining aircraft cabin concept in which the excess body heat from seated passengers is used as an alternative source of energy to power small electronics in the cabin.

To view their teamline click here

Team Embarker

Knowledge Centre

The knowledge centre hosts a variety of tools and information compiled by Airbus and industry experts to offer guidance and further insight.

Fly Your Ideas participants will have a unique opportunity to use some of these resources free of charge for a month, thanks to their participation in the competition.  

  • IHS Jane's

    IHS Jane's

    Aircraft currently under development or in production profiles

  • EDSU


    Engineering design data, methods and software for the A&D industry
  • IHS Goldfire

    IHS Goldfire

    Expert knowledge to make informed product development decisions 

  • Useful Links

    Useful Links

    Useful websites and sources of information.

  • Environment


    Information on Airbus & Sustainable Aviation

  • Referencing


    Tips and links around the subject of referencing in your project.

  • Downloadable PDF's

    Downloadable PDF's

    A variety of PDF documents for download

  • Q&A with Composites Expert

    Q&A with Composites Expert

    Answers from the twitter Q&A session with Airbus Expert Ian Lane

IHS Jane's

IHS Jane's All the World's Aircraft: Development & Production profiles help government, military and business professionals to:

  • Identify & compare development & production aircraft
  • Evaluate competitors, potential business partners & acquisition targets
  • Analyse future air platform sales & product development opportunities
  • Recognise trends and developments in the global aerospace market
  • Assess emerging technologies & accurately model future air threat scenarios


Profiles of more than 1,400 civil and military aircraft in development or production globally, technical and programme information, as well as photographs, three-view and diagrams.

  • Aircraft type, versions and variants & design features 
  • Program history and milestones
  • Development, production and procurement costs

Visit IHS Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft: Development & Production below. 


With over 70 years of engineering knowledge and best practices validated by subject matter experts from industry, government and academia, IHS ESDU can help you solve complex problems. IHS ESDU enables engineers to:

  • Develop better products and solutions and reduce lead times and costs. 
  • Explore design alternatives and test hypotheses early in the process.
  • Interpret results in practical engineering contexts.
  • Mitigate potential risks/problems with designs.
  • Ensure compliance to industry standards, specifications and requirements.

IHSE ESDU provides design guidance on more than 1500 topics spanning areas such as:

  • Aerodynamics
  • Aircraft Noise
  • Composites
  • Heat Transfer
  • Fatigue
  • Performance
  • Structures
  • Vibration
  • And many more...

To access content, please visit the IHS ERC Page 


How to access ESDU content:

  1. Log on to with your access credentials. You will be asked to register and create an account the first time you enter.
  2. Choose “IHS Standards Expert” under the note “Select a Service from your current subscription:”
  3. Inside Standards Expert, enter ESDU and any other words in the “Keyword(s) or Text:” box under Search. For example, “ESDU drag”. Pressing the Enter key will yield ESDU document results for the search. Including ESDU as a keyword helps restrict document search to ESDU items of interest. One can choose to search for the presence of the keyword in the titles, abstracts or the full document text.
  4. More information on ESDU content is available at . This site provides additional information, navigation and search tools to locate documents of interest. These documents (via their document numbers or keywords) can then be accessed via IHS Standards Expert (as mentioned above).
  5. Questions or difficulties related to account access can be sent to Requests for software programs linked to any data items can also be sent to customer support. 

IHS Goldfire

IHS Goldfire enables you to work faster and smarter by informing decision-making across the product lifecycle. Through its integrated world-class semantic technology, collaboration and concept generation capabilities and rich technical content, IHS Goldfire enables innovation and knowledge workers to arrive at optimal decisions, empowering them to deliver market-leading, competitively differentiated products in less time and at less cost.

IHS Goldfire will help you to:

  • Generate innovative concepts for market-leading products
  • Identify new markets and envision next-generation solutions
  • Get on-demand competitive and technology trends and analysis
  • Connect to relevant internal and external content
  • Identify and connect to experts inside and outside the organization
  • Collaborate to accelerate problem solving and idea generation.

Visit our website and find out more about IHS Goldfire 

Useful Links

On this page you will find a variety of useful links provided by the Airbus mentors, experts and assessors. 

Note: These links have been provided to offer some help and support to participants. However, Airbus has no commercial relationship with these 3rd party websites and as such, takes no responsibility for the content or information provided by them.

Below you will find the name of the website, the link and a short description about the content: 

  • Aerospace Research Central (AIAA)

  • European Aeronautics Science Network
    • Information around various aeronautical research topics - including Flight Physics, Aerostructures, Propulsion, Flight Mechanics, ATM, as well as innovation

  • NASA Scientific & Technical Information


Airbus & Sustainable Aviation

Fuel Consumption & CO2 emission trends

The Situation: 

  • Aviation represents 2% of emissions, 10% of fuel use
  • Fuel represents around 30% of operating costs for Airlines

The Future: 

  • Aviation traffic will double in the coming 15 years
  • Aviation traffic will be for more than 2 billion people
  • Over 40M Tonnes of cargo will be transported every year
  • Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions will more than double within the next 25 years
The Challenges for Aviation: 

The Answers: 

  • Product improvement
  • Economic measures
  • Alternative Fuels
  • Air Traffic Management
What is Airbus doing? 
  • Be positioned as a major actor for sustainable aviation (Emissions reductions and migration to alternative energies).
  • Locally support our customers all around the world by offering efficient and sustainable solutions for their operations
  • Act as a catalyst for pushing the commercialization of sustainable Alternative Fuels for the long - term
  • Provide a global and concrete support to the aviation industry
  • Be an Eco Efficient company

From Demonstration to regular use of Alternative Fuels: 

Airbus Alternative Fuels: 

Next Steps:

  • Strongly monitor the implementation of the existing projects
  • Identify gaps and increase expertise based on real and concrete projects
  • Transform from demonstration and trials to industrial context - for large scale use of alternative fuels for the long term
  • Assess at each stage of the Value chain sustainability and manage corrective actions


Referencing is a method used to demonstrate to your readers that you have conducted a thorough and appropriate literature search. There are many styles of referencing  but as some general tips: 

  • The list should be in alphabetical author/editor
  • Books, paper or electronic journal articles are written in a particular format that must be followed
  • Your reference list should contain all the items you have cited or directly quoted from
  • When you have used more than one piece of work by the same author, in your reference list you should list the works in date order, beginning with the most recently published work. 

To find out more about specific referencing styles see links below or check with your own university: 

PDF Documents

Here you will find a variety of documents provided by the Airbus mentors, experts and assessors. 

Note: These documents have been provided to offer some help and support to participants. However, Airbus has no commercial relationship with the 3rd party sources and as such, takes no responsibility for the content or information provided by them.

State of Innovation

Aircraft Noise Documents: 

Energy Harvesting Document: 

Emissions & Greenhouse Factors

Twitter Q&A: Ian Lane Composites Expert

Q: Tell me about durable, low cost & high temperature bearing composites?

A: High temp resins tend to be expensive, consider separation of heat sources within the design as an alternative.

Q: Have you ever imagined how to bring a traditional touch inside your masterpiece?

A: 100 years ago aircraft made of natural composite (wood), now we engineer a higher performance composite material

Q: Why is wing-twist, which you are adding more of to A380, beneficial to fuel economy?

A: It is important on swept wings as you load the wings you get natural twist, so on bigger wings ground to flight twist is more. It is a carefully tuned design variable. For the wing to take up the best shape in flight.

Q: Which parts of an aircraft may be fabricated using Carbon fiber reinforced polymer?

A: Typical composite A350 parts include wing covers, spars, HTP, VTP and fuselage frames and shells.

Q: Is Carbon-fiber really the material of future? Please tell us about the economical aspects using C-fiber, a decade from now.

A: cost weight trade off on all parts when considering composites to decide the best material

Q: What are the major strength criteria that you look for if a new composite material is proposed.

A: Damage tolerance, high strength to weight ratio, filled hole compression are major drivers

Q: Is it ok to validate a new proposal of composite using simulation alone for basic load cases(tensile,bending,etc)?

A: We always match simulation with physical test performance.

Q: What are the problems for the composite structure of aircraft cabin due to increase in the interior humidity levels?

A: Epoxy resins are naturally hydroscopic, they soak up water. We account for this with hot/wet design values.

Q: Why can't we simply use a hydrophobic coating like Teflon on the cabin walls and increase the moisture within?

A: No need. The structures are designed using hot/wet design values. The Teflon would add weight.

Q: For the winglet project what wing dimension should we take?

A: Winglets should be custom designed to suit specific wing geometry. Pick your wing, then go for it!

Q: I am in round 2 doing project on it necessary to go for fabrication or would a CFD analysis be good?

A: For your project I recommend to do your aerodynamics analysis first then structure design afterwards.

Q: What progress is being made into making proper, full life cycle composite aircraft material?

A: Life cycle analysis is always included in our composite research. Have a look here for more information

Q: What material would you recommend for a sustainable airship and why?

A: Whatever is light enough, strong and safe enough, and makes economic sense! Innovate!

Q: How do you analyze the effect of conductive paint (on some plies) on strength of a composite. It is in contact with epoxy.

A: Simulation and physical test along with an excellent understanding of the core physics.

Q: The next-gen (2025-2050) of planes will be 100% petrol, hybrid or 100% ecologic?

A: Have a look on our alternative fuels page to get a better idea about this.

Q: How does Airbus promote innovation within its own organisation?

A: Innovation is promoted from the top and everyone is encouraged and empowered to innovate. Find out more.

Q:  Is BTV a standard feature on all future Airbus aircraft? Including the A350 and A320NEO?

A: You can read more about BTV here. Find out more about BTV

Q: Ian, what's the most critical process in composites? and what can do lean manufacturing in this field?

A: Our whole composite manufacturing process is critical. For lean try to focus on pre and post cure logistics

Q: What impact will the ever rising cost of fuel have on future designs of aircraft in the next 20-30 years and could you provide the link to the concept plane section of the website?

A: Find out more information about the concept plane and the Future by Airbus here

Q: Can you nullify the turbulent flow with Air blow system? 

A: Generally it is not possible to nullify turbulent flow with air injection but it is possible to delay flow seperation or divert a turbulent stream to a new direction.

Q: How much stake do Airbus have in reaching the carbon emissions and fuel reduction goals outlined by IATA? 

A: Have a look at Airbus' Aviation Environmental Roadmap here 

Q: What makes sharklets more efficient than other standard wings? 

A: SharkletsTM  provide a level of lift and drag that represents a wing of increased span and so is beneficial where limits are placed on span for operational reasons.

Q: Is there any feasible ways of detecting vortices position relative to the plane? 

A: There are a number of alternatives that include seeding of the vortex for direct visualisation or non-invasive measurement using laser technology.

Q: What is your opinion on the use of Fuel Cells onboard? 

A: Here is some information on our web site about fuel cells:

Fly Your Ideas Stories

Discover the experiences of the Fly Your Ideas finalists and read their tips on what it takes to make a winning team.

  • Team CoZ

    Team CoZ

    University of Queensland, Australia

  • Team Solaire Voyager

    Team Solaire Voyager

    The National University of Singapore

  • Team Ecolution

    Team Ecolution

    Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid, Spain

  • Team Msia on Mars

    Team Msia on Mars

    University Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology, Malaysia

  • Team SSE

    Team SSE

    Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden

  • Team Wings of Pheonix

    Team Wings of Pheonix

    Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China

Team Coz, the University of Queensland, Australia

The multinational team "CoZ" from the University of Queensland, Australia, were awarded the winning prize in June 2009. Their project focused on the use of a pioneering natural fibre composite - made from castor plants - in aircraft cabins.

Alex Ching-Tai NG

I found out about Fly Your Ideas from my PhD advisor while a second year PhD student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Queensland. The thing I enjoyed the most was working with my team to develop something from scratch and seeing our idea become a real product and its potential to be applied to the industry. 

The most memorable experience was presenting our idea to the selection panel in Paris, which was made up of international experts from the aviation industry. 

The most challenging part was working out how our studies could be applied to the competition. After we identified our project, the timing was the next toughest challenge as we needed to complete the project in a short timeframe, which included sourcing the Castor plant, harvesting the plants, turning the plant into fibre, manufacturing the bio-based fibre composite panels and then finally testing their engineering properties. 

The most unexpected thing was the outcome of the competition: in addition to actually winning, our idea became an on-going project between the university and Airbus. After the competition, I was better able to identify the important issues or topics within the industry, such as the environmental issues related to aviation. This is important in my career, especially as a researcher who is required to develop something beneficial for the human race. 

My advice for students taking part in Fly Your Ideas would be not to under estimate yourself. If you have a great idea, you can make it a reality through the competition. The engineers at Airbus are good at identifying the best ideas and the mentoring staff are there to help you. 


CNN filmed Team CoZ on campus in Queensland

Team Solaire Voyager, the National University of Singapore

"Solaire Voyager" from the National University of Singapore claimed the runner-up prize in 2009 for their proposal to use solar cell technology integrating photovoltaic cells in aircraft to generate electricity. 


Chen Yahui

I was a first year PhD student in Mechanical Engineering at the National University of Singapore when I first heard about Fly Your Ideas. I thought it would be a good opportunity to apply what I had learned and see how ideas can be achieved in real life. In my case, I didn't form a team within my university - as a single applicant, the organiser found me some teammates. 

The most enjoyable part for me was meeting people from other disciplines and exploring novel and creative ideas. Above all, I learned that one idea alone may not be so brilliant, but a pool of ideas can lead to genius. 

Fly Your Ideas is a good opportunity for students to broaden their minds and for interacting with others. In the future, my plan is to continue my research in Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs).

In this video Team Solaire Voyager explain their concept

If you are in Chen's position and without a team from your own university why not visit our Facebook App where you can find potential team-mates and discuss the challenges. 

Team Ecolution, Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid, Spain

Team Ecolution were the Fly Your Ideas 2011 video prize winner for the effective and well-presented visual demonstration of the implementation of low-weight natural fibre composites in aircraft cargo containers. 


I was in my final year of Industrial Engineering when one of our teachers, who works at Airbus Getafe, told us about Fly Your Ideas. Some of my friends and I saw the FYI posters that were all around the university and we began to think about a project. I really enjoyed working with other people and being able to learn so much from them. 

My most memorable experience was editing our video during the last two days of the competition. The first day things went so wrong that we thought we wouldn't make it in time. But after more than 40 hours of almost continuous work the video was so well edited, we realized that we could win. 

The most challenging part was testing our design with the simulation software ANSYS. We had a lot of issues and the results were far from what we expected. Finally we found the problem, but this was tough. 

The most important thing that I learned is that if you believe that you can achieve a goal and you work hard for it, you will eventually achieve it. This same thinking helped me through many situations, such as my final year project and my degree exam. 

As for the future, I always wanted to work in something related to transport, especially railways, but for now my main objective is to get experience and keep on learning. 

What would I say to students taking part in Fly Your Ideas now? Don't think twice and participate! It will be a great experience for you, a chance to work with professionals and an opportunity to develop your teamwork skills. You'll enjoy it for sure!


I found out about Fly Your Ideas at university, while attending my last year of a five year degree in Industrial Engineering. All the members of my team were classmates and friends. We decided to participate all together as one team in order to have fun and test ourselves with new challenges. 

I enjoyed the excitement of passing the different phases and being able to get in touch with Airbus and experts in the field. 

The trip to Paris was my most memorable experience because we were able to meet the finalists, talk about our ideas, about our teams, meet the people we were writing e-mails to regarding the contest and of course going  to the Le Bourget International Airshow.

The most challenging part was deciding on the idea we were going to develop. We had lots of ideas since the very beginning and we thought they were all really good. Finally, we decided to commit to the idea that we thought had the most potential for development. 

The most unexpected thing that we learned was realizing that we didn't know so much about the field we were researching, in comparison to what we thought we knew. There are always so many things to learn from colleagues, professors and experts... Not only technical skills, but personal skills too.

After my participation in Fly Your Ideas I got a one-year internsup at Airbus Getafe in Spain. I enjoyed the experience so much that I am now preparing to start a Volunteer International Experience at Airbus Hamburg in Germany next year. This experience has opened more possibilities for my working life. Moreover, my team and I have developed our friendship and we all remember the best moments of the competition. 

Since Fly Your Ideas ended I now know I want to work in the aircraft industry. As an Industrial Engineer I would like to be involved in the manufacturing of the different airplanes, from the Single Aisle series to the new A350 XWB, and of course, the spectacular A380.

To students taking part in Fly Your Ideas now I would say that they should enjoy every moment with their teammates, both the good and the bad, because this is a once in a lifetime experience. It will improve your team working skills, the relationships and friendships with your team, which is really important. Furthermore, you will be able to meet lots of different people related to Airbus and the competition. 

Team Msia on Mars, University Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology, Malaysia

The Fly Your Ideas 2011 finalist team, selected for their idea to use biodegradable materials from Kapok tree fibres for aircraft thermal and acoustic insulation blankets used for aircraft cabins.

Wan Nor Hami Bin Wan Isa

Fly Your Ideas is a great competition which challenges students to produce the greatest new ideas in the aviation industry. I was in the second year of Engineering Technology in Business Management when I formed a team with some of my friends. 

I really enjoyed the second round of the competition because we needed to produce a short video of our project. The most memorable experience for me was when we qualified for the final round and I visited Paris for the first time in my life. 

The final presentation was the most challenging because we had to present our project in front of the expert Jury and it was really tough for us. 

The experience that I gained from Fly Your Ideas has been very useful for my studies as it has helped me a lot in terms of managing my final year project. I applied all the knowledge that I had gained from the competition to complete my research project.

I have one short term and one long term plan for the future. In the short term, I want to complete my studies and conduct an internship with Airbus. And in the long term, I would like to work with Airbus and contribute to the wellbeing of the environment and the global community. 

For students taking part in this competition now I would say that this is a real chance to challenge, yourself, know on which level you are and do something for the environment. You will learn a lot from this competition. 

See behind the scenes at the Fly Your Ideas final in the 2009 and 2011 highlights.

Team SSE, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden

A team of business and management students made it to the Fly Your Ideas Final in 2011 for the first time. Team SSE was chosen for their formulation of an ECO points scheme to promote environmentally-friendly flying. 


Oleg Soldatov

I was a first year student of the MSc in General Management at the Stockholm School of Economics when I got involved in Fly Your Ideas. I have always been passionate about public transportation, particularly aviation. Finding teammates among the pool of ambitious students at the Stockholm School of Economics was not a problem and it was the teamwork and the challenge of presenting our idea to high-level executives that I enjoyed the most. 

The final presentation was my most memorable experience. The importance of delegating was the most unexpected thing I learned from this experience. In any project of this scale, a team cannot be efficient unless its members do their bit according to their specialization. 

After taking part in the final presentation I became much better at delivering presentations to high-profile audiences. Moreover, after working in a diverse team (we had a Swede, an American, a Chinese and a Zimbabwean on board, while I am Ukrainian), I learned a lot about intercultural group dynamics. Following a gap year, I am currently in the middle of the second year of the MSc programme. After graduation I will either continue practicing law, as I have a legal background, or move towards management. 

For students taking part in this competition now I would advise them to plan ahead - it requires a lot of commitment, especially when you make it to the later stages. It's a lot of fun too, so don't be disappointed if everything doesn't go according to your plans. 

Watch the 2011 Finalists montage.

Team Wings of Phoenix, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China

The Fly Your Ideas 2011 winning team for their suggestion of a ground-based wind power generation system derived from aircraft wakes. 


Xianmei Wu (Eva)

I was in my third year of studying for an English degree when I heard about Fly Your Ideas from a friend. I love aeronautics so it seemed like it was a perfect opportunity for me to both strengthen my English skills and gain a better understanding of the field I love. 

My most memorable experience was when my teammates and I got to stand on the platform and present our project to Airbus' panel of experts. It was amazing. I felt so honored and proud. 

I learned from this experience that someone who seizes an opportunity and gives it their all can achieve things they would never expect. 

Taking part in Fly Your Ideas has helped me in other aspects of my career enormously. Firstly, I had the precious opportunity of having an internship at Airbus, which is extremely beneficial for future development. Secondly, the competition has enabled me to study for my master's degree in Transportation Engineering. I became famous after winning the prize and this made my life at college more enjoyable. In the future I plan to work for an aviation institution within the management department.

I would say to students taking part in the next Fly Your Ideas to try to use all their creativity and skills. We never know how much potential we have until we challenge ourselves.

Lijun Pan

I was a junior at my university when I found out about Fly Your Ideas. I saw the competition advertised on a notice board in my dormitory and decided to create a team with my friends. Each member of the team was gifted in a different field. For example Xuesong Liu is an expert in 3D rendering and Eva speaks good English. The most memorable part of the competition for me was being able to visit Paris and show our presentation to so many important judges. And of course to have won!

The most enjoyable part of Fly Your Ideas was just before we made our presentation. My heart was racing away, but when we began I immediately felt better. The hardest part of the competition for me was the English. In the Q&A we didn't understand what the Jury were saying very well; how I wished we could have had an interpreter! It taught me however how important English is a tool, especially on an international stage. I found the entire experience to be very valuable. For example it has been useful in my studies, as my participation allowed me to be exempt from the entrance exam for graduate college. Also, the presentation before so many important judges has also made me a lot more confident. I hope to work for Airbus after my internship as I have learnt so much about aircraft design and engineering and nothing could be better than to have a good job at a top international company such as them. 

Xinyuan Zheng

I was in the third year of my bachelor degree in Aircraft Design and Engineering when I saw the poster for Fly Your Ideas in our dormitory. I decided to participate because I wanted to challenge myself and improve my abilities. We created our team from among five close friends who were all interested in the competition. The experience of the whole process was very enjoyable as we really used our abilities and skills in all sorts of ways. That's where my greatest sense of achievement truly came from. There were times when we seemed to be faced with major problems, but somehow we always managed to solve them. 

Time management was the biggest challenge because we needed to finish all the work for the competition as well as all the school assignments. I also learned many valuable skills that would help me in my life outside the competition, such as interpersonal skills, team-work, finding creative approaches to problems, and how to work efficiently. 

Fly Your Ideas Challenges 2013

We would like students to propose ideas for the six key challenges for aviation in the 21st Century. For more information about each of the challenge areas click on the challenge you are interested in. 
  • Energy


    Ideas for reducing energy consumption, harvesting/recovery, or identifying sustainable sources. 
  • Efficiency


    Enhanced aerodynamic performance, weight reduction, and maintainability. 
  • Affordable Growth

    Affordable Growth

    Low cost manufacturing processes, materials, operations & disposal. 
  • Traffic Growth

    Traffic Growth

    Management of aircraft missions, air traffic & ground operations. 
  • Passenger Experience

    Passenger Experience

    Cabin of the future, integrated transport systems or improved airport operations. 
  • Community Friendliness

    Community Friendliness

    Reducing noise levels, improving air quality and easing ground traffic.


As traditional fossil based fuels become scarce and corresponding prices rise we encourage ideas for reducing energy consumption, increasing energy harvesting/recovery and for identifying sustainable sources of renewable energy that don't compete with food, land and water resources. 


Biofuels are key to meeting ACARE FlightPath 2050 goals (see link below); Airbus is at the forefront with partners across the globe and is pioneering the introduction of sustainable biofuels, which will make a major impact on CO2 emissions from aviation. Biofuels should eliminate CO2 emissions from engines - their plant supply sources fix CO2 as they grow - offsetting what will be emitted when they are burned. 

Find out more: Biofuels 

Video: Click here
    Fuel Cells
A fuel cell is a device that transforms the energy of hydrogen into electricity (by combining the hydrogen with oxygen in a 'cold' combustion). The only waste is water, heat and oxygen depleted air, so no emissions and no noise!

What's more, the water produced from the process can be used by the aircraft's water and waste systems, which saves extra water having to be carried on board. This reduces weight, which in turn reduces fuel burn and emissions even further. 

It is unlikely that fuel cell technology will be used as the main power source in the near future. Instead engineers are looking at using it for the cabin and aircraft systems, to power things like air conditioning or starting the engine. 

Find out more: Fuel Cells 
Video: Click here
  Energy Harvesting/Scavenging

Some of the energy sources being investigated by 2050 might seem far fetched by today's standards. What about harvesting body heat for example? Instead of producing energy, this would simply collect energy, from say the passenger's seat, and redirect it to power some of the aircraft functions, like the cabin lights. 

Previous ideas developed for the Airbus Fly Your Ideas Challenge have included topics such as energy recovery from engine heat and vibration. 

Find out more: Energy Harvesting
    Airbus Egenius

Airbus is also looking at electic, emission free propulsion, and is supporting basic research activities for electric aircraft concepts. 

The "eGenius" technology demonstrator, an electrical propelled two-seater aircraft designed by the Institute of Aircraft Design at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, was presented for the first time at the international Aero-Expo in Friedrichshafen, Germany, in 2011. Six weeks later, "eGenius" performed its maiden flight. 

Find out more: eGenius


Aircraft with improved performance and reduced environmental impact are increasingly in demand. Therefore the aviation industry requires new ideas in areas such as enhanced aerodynamic performance, weight reduction, improved maintainability and reliability. The below outlines some background information on this challenge you may find useful. 

    The Airbus Concept Plane

Airbus experts in aircraft materials, aerodynamics and engines came up with a Concept Plane design that is an "engineer's dream", and as such has the potential to significantly improve improving airframe efficiency.

The Airbus Concept Plane brings together a package of technologies, which although feasible, are unlikely to ever coexist in this manner. So it is not a plane that will fly, but it highlights some of the challenges and decisions that lie ahead for air travel, and it illustrates the main technologies being explored in anticipation of the future needs of passengers and their planet. 

Find out more: Concept Plane

  Composite Materials

The A350 XWB already contains 53% composite materials in its fuselage and wing, which results in 60% lower fatigue and corrosion maintenance, as well as reduction in weight, relative to aluminium.

This provides a 25% reduction in fuel burn & seat mile cost - this results in major environmental benefits such as lowest CO2 emissions and NOx emissions up to 35% below CAEP6 (Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection - Sixth meeting, Montreal, Canada, 2-12 February 2004)

Find out more: Composite Materials

Coupled with 'runway overrun prevention system' (ROPS), reinforces safety of landing by preventing runway excursions Brake-To-Vacate provides a means to reduce the runway occupation required per plane at airports. 

Find out more: Brake-To-Vacate

Read the expert advice on Efficiency from Simon Weselby

Affordable Growth

Growing demand to introduce new improved aircraft and service solutions into the air transport system requires that fleet replacement and upgrades need to be affordable. Therefore ideas for lower cost manufacturing processes, materials, equipment, operations and disposal must be developed. 

    Additive Layer Manufacturing Technology

In 2011, Airbus Group produced the world's first bike using revolutionary ALM technology - 'grown' from high-strength nylon powder. The revolutionary manufacturing process is known as Additive Layer Manufacturing (or ALM) and it allows single products to be grown from a fine powder of metal (such as titanium, stainless steel or aluminium), nylon or carbon-reinforced plastics from a centre located next to Airbus' site at Filton. When mature, this technology will enable engineers to design and manufacture more accurate parts with less weight and with no waste materials. 

Find out more:  Additive Layer Technology
    Out-Of-Autoclave Composites

Airbus is now using out of autoclave epoxy composite materials to manufacture the outer and mid-section fixed trailing edge panels for the Airbus A350 XWB aircraft wing. This material has been chosen for its high toughness, low density and ability to produce low void content parts using vacuum bag moulding. Making composite parts without using an autoclave significantly reduces the energy needed for the manufacturing process. 

Find out more: Out-of-Autoclave
    Lean Processes

Lean manufacturing, lean enterprise, or lean production is a practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination. The implementation of Lean principles is a core, strategic objective within Airbus, and all Lean business activities are now coordinated at a global level by Lean Centre of Competence - established to plan, manage and implement the Airbus Lean strategy throughout the organisation. 

Find out more: Lean Processes

Traffic Growth

In the next 15 years it is forecast that aviation passenger traffic will more than double placing strong pressure on the capacity of air transport systems. To support this demand we want to inspire innovative ideas to improve the management of aircraft missions, air traffic control and ground operations. 
    Formation Flying

In nature, large birds sometimes fly together to save energy and travel further. When flying in formation, the leading bird's wings generate whirling masses of air. The following bird benefits from this air current to get some free extra lift, which means it needs to use less energy to fly.

Airbus is working with some of its partners to explore this idea as a way to reduce both fuel burn and emissions on long distance flights. Trials have already been undertaken with the A400M and have shown that planes could fly in formation with some adaptions. In fact, this approach was also proposed by a young team of graduate engineers who made it to the final of the 2009 Airbus Fly Your Ideas challenge.  

Find out more: Smarter Skies 
Video: Formation Flying
    Air Traffic Management (ATM)

Airbus is dedicated to the development and support of a modern Air Traffic Management (ATM) system in order to optimise the use of airspace worldwide. It aims to deliver new ATM capabilities and improvements which will allow aircraft to fly the most direct routes, reduce traffic congestions and delays, minimize aircraft fuel consumption and their environmental footprint and help reduce the overall cost of air navigation service providers (ANSPs) through greater automation. 

Airbus is highly involved in ATM programmes such as the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) in Europe, as well as NextGen in the US. 

Today, through an enhanced ATM system allowing for free flight (or self-organised flight), and assuming 30 million flights per year - every flight in the world could on average be 13 minutes shorter. This would mean saving 9m tonnes of excess fuel annually, which equates to 28m tonnes of avoidable CO2, as well as 500 million hours of excess flight time for passengers on board aircraft. 

In 2050 (assuming a 4-fold increase in air traffic), savings could be 24m tonnes of fuel saved, which equates to 76m tonnes of CO2.

Find out more: Eurocontrol Research

Video: Traffic Growth
    Airbus ProSky

Comprised of recognized subject matter experts and offering intelligent ATM solutions that maximize efficiency, capacity and environmental sustainability, the Airbus ProSKy Group, a subsidiary of Airbus, is committed to working side-by-side with ANSPs, aircraft operators and airport authorities to build a truly collaborative system with greater capacity, better performance and environmental sustainability for all stakeholders. Airbus ProSky Group members include Metron Aviation, Quovadis and ATRiCS, brought together to improve the performance and efficiency of the global airspace.

The Group delivers groundbreaking ATM research and development, Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM), Surface Management (SMAN), Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) and Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) solutions. 

Find out more: ProSky

The Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking is an ambitious initiative launched by the European Commission in 2004 which aims to reform European Air Traffic Management. SESAR 2020 - 2025 objectives include tripling the worldwide airspace capacity, reducing ATM costs per controlled flight by 50% and reducing the environmental impact per flight by 10%.  Achieving such goals requires a shift from airspace-based to trajectory-based operations and step-change technologies in three main areas: navigation, surveillance and communication. 

Airbus is a major contributor to the SEAR JU, and is leading the aircraft work package which defines onboard solutions to meet operational improvement targets identified in the SESAR Master Plan. It also greatly contributes to additional operational work packages and the validation infrastructure. 

In February 2012 as part of its SESAR research, Airbus achieved its first I4D flight (see link below). Airbus will reach other major SESAR milestones this year and into 2016.

Find out more: Airbus SESAR 

Find out more: SESAR - Airbus Research 

Video: Sesar
    The Perfect Flight

Air France and Airbus have completed the world's greenest commercial flight by combining the latest fuel and air traffic management technologies. The flight from Toulouse-Blagnac to Paris-Orly using an Airbus A321 has been able to demonstrate the cutting in half of CO2 emitted compared to a regular flight. 

The (AF6129) commercial flight combined for the first time the use of bio-fuels (50 per cent in each engine), optimised air traffic management (ATM) and efficient Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) to minimise CO2 emissions. Combining these technologies helped half the overall CO2 emissions to 54 grams per passenger and kilometre. This is equivalent to a fuel efficiency of 2.2 litres of fuel per passenger and 100 Kilometres.

Find out more: Perfect Flight

  Global Market Forecast 2012 - 2031

Airbus' Global Market Forecast for 2012-2031 offers a forward-looking view of the air transport sector's evolution - taking into account such drivers and factors as population growth, urbanization, emerging markets, innovation and environmental impact.

During this period, Airbus foresees the need for some 27,300 passenger airliners with seating capactities of 100 seats and above, along with nearly 900  new factory-built freighter aircraft. The Global Market Forecast also anticipates a more than doubling of the world's overall passenger aircraft inventory, from 15,500 today to more than 32,500 by 2031.

Find out more: Market Forecast

Passenger Experience

The traveller expects a seamless, comfortable and efficient travel experience with ready access to services and facilities throughout their journey. Ideas could therefore address the cabin of the future, as well as integrated transport systems or improved airport operations. 

  The Airbus Concept Cabin

Based on extensive research into the way the world's population is changing, the Airbus Concept Cabin illustrates what the future of flight might look like from the passengers' perspective. Inspired by nature - and designed to protect it  - aircraft cabins of the future will be customised to the needs of individual passengers. 

The Airbus Concept Cabin adheres to the Airbus passenger-centric innovation approach which combines 360 degree trend research investigating the future passenger needs and serving these needs with sustainable next generation technologies. 

The Airbus Concept Cabin is thus an optimal case to experience how research on the future passenger needs and the next generation green technologies are combined to offer the next level of a future passenger experience: A flying experience inspired by nature. 

Find out more: Concept Cabin
    Cabin Pod Concept

What good are more comfortable, eco-efficient aircraft if the passengers have to spend hours on end in crowded airports? The air transport system of the future will have to be much more practical than today. Perhaps taking an aircraft could become as simple as taking the underground, utilizing the same style of boarding platforms right alongside. Or maybe passengers will already be seated in cabin pods before the aircraft actually arrives, ready to collect the pre-loaded passengers, saving time and making life simple and convenient. 

Video: Airbus Pod Concept
  Airbus Passenger 2050 Research

Understanding the passengers of tomorrow is key for Airbus and is at the heart of 'The Future by Airbus' initiative, and the Airbus-commissioned international passenger 2050 study. Here are the key findings:

  • 69% expect to fly overseas more by 2050, by which time they anticipate taking 63% more flights
  • Reasons include economic growth; a desire to see more of the world; the need to see friends and family spread across the globe; and greater flexibility between home and the workplace
  • 97% said that in the future aircraft will have to be more sustainable
  • In the future passengers have told us they want to get to their destinations quicker, to fly more direct routes, with fewer delays and less stress. They feel delays are often caused by ATC.
  • Airbus research demonstrates that inefficiencies in current aircraft operations lead to passenger delays, and an unnecessary use of fuel and emissions, meaning and estimate of 12-13 mins excess time per flight or a worldwide annual value of excess passenger time of 1.5bn USD per minute of excess time. 
     Find out more: 2050 Research

View infographic 1: Click here  

View infographic 2: Click here

Read the expert advice on this Challenge from Andy Williams  or Nicolas Tschechne

Community Friendliness

As airports are closely embedded in our cities, we must maintain a harmonious co-existence with local residents. Ideas identifying new approaches for reducing noise levels, improving air quality and easing ground traffic could be proposed. 

    Noise Shielding

Reducing noise from aircraft operations percieved by airport neighbouring communities is a major challenge. Over the last decades, significant noise reduction has been achieved via the application of a wide range of technologies on the engine turbomachinery, the engine nacelle and the airframe.

While these technologies helped reduce noise at source, recent studies and acoustic experiments have been conducted in the field of noise shielding. In order to further reduce noise perceived on ground by shielding the engine noise sources with one or more airframe surfaces, one could imagine unconventional designs with engines installed on top of the airplane body or wings for instance.

Engine position on the airframe must be studied with care in order to maximise noise shielding while minimizing any adverse impact on weights, drag and overall performance.

Find out more: Noise Shielding 
    Owl-inspired Landing Gear

Over 20 million years, owls have evolved serrated feathers on their wings and downy feathers on their legs, which minimise aerodynamic noise. While modern aircraft already produce 75% less noise than those built 40 years ago, Airbus engineers are studying owls to further unlock the secrets of silent flight. Ideas include a retractable brush-like fringe to mimic the owl's trailing feathers and velvety coating on aircraft landing gear.  

Find out more: Landing Gear 
    E-Taxi/Taxi Bot

On landing aircraft engines could be switched off sooner, runways cleared faster and ground handling emissions could be cut. 

Technology could optimise an aircraft's landing position with enough accuracy for an autonomous renewably powered taxiing carriage to be ready, so aircraft could be transported away from runways quicker, which would optimise terminal space, and remove runway and gate limitations. 

In 2011, for the first time ever electric motors were installed on the main landing gear of a commercial aircraft taking over all necessary movements of an aircraft on ground. L-3 Communications, Fraport, as well as Lufthansa German Airlines and Lufthansa Technik, with Airbus support, teamed up to jointly test the technology demonstrator which might lead to a new way for aircraft to taxi. 

Find out more: E-Taxi

Lufthansa Etaxi: Click here

Look beyond the obvious…..

“At Airbus, we work in a world of unobtainiums, solutions for seemingly impossible challenges that shape the way we live – like those that made air travel a reality. We want students to adopt that innovative spirit in Fly Your Ideas 2013.” Charles Champion, Executive Vice President Engineering at Airbus and patron of the Fly Your Ideas competition

With the third Fly Your Ideas competition - part of the visionary Future by Airbus Programme - Airbus is asking students to think big too, and propose an idea to address one of the following 21st century challenges for greener aviation: Energy; Energy Efficiency; Affordable Growth; Traffic Growth; Passenger Experience; Community Friendliness.

Look beyond the obvious…..

Fly Your Ideas challenges 2013

We would like students to propose ideas for the six key challenges for aviation in the 21st century. Don’t forget to check back for further insights and suggestions!


As traditional fossil based fuels become scarce and corresponding prices rise we encourage ideas for reducing energy consumption, increasing energy harvesting/recovery and for identifying sustainable sources of renewable energy that don’t compete with food, land and water resources.



Aircraft with improved performance and reduced environmental impact are increasingly in demand. Therefore the aviation industry requires new ideas in areas such as enhanced aerodynamic performance, weight reduction, improved maintainability and reliability.


Affordable growth

Growing demand to introduce new improved aircraft and service solutions into the air transport system requires that fleet replacement and upgrades need to be affordable. Therefore ideas for lower cost manufacturing processes, materials, equipment, operations and disposal must be developed.

Affordable growth

Traffic growth

In the next 15 years it is forecast that aviation passenger traffic will more than double placing strong pressure on the capacity of air transport systems. To support this demand we want to inspire innovative ideas to improve the management of aircraft missions, air traffic control and ground operations.

Traffic growth

Passenger experience

The traveller expects a seamless, comfortable and efficient travel experience with ready access to services and facilities throughout their journey. Ideas could therefore address the cabin of the future, as well as integrated transport systems or improved airport operations.

Passenger experience

Community friendliness

As airports are closely embedded in our cities, we must maintain a harmonious co-existence with local residents. Ideas identifying new approaches for reducing noise levels, improving air quality and easing ground traffic could be proposed.

Community friendliness