Team Multifun – Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2015 Winners!

And the winner of Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2015 is… Team Multifun from Delft University of Technology! Congratulations to Team Multifun, whose idea entails aircraft wings dressed in a composite skin that harvests energy from natural vibrations or flex in the wings won the day, and persuaded the distinguished jury that they are the worthy winners of the challenge.

Well done also to our runners up, Team Retrolley from University of Sao Paulo, and to all five teams who shared their passion for innovation and aviation with us here in Hamburg.

OPEN YOUR MIND. EXPAND OUR HORIZONS

Fly Your Ideas is a biennial global competition, organised in partnership with UNESCO, which challenges students to innovate for the future of aviation. At Airbus, we’re constantly looking for new, better ways to fly and that’s what Fly Your Ideas is all about.

Find out more about how the competition works and how you can be the first to hear about future editions.


OPEN YOUR MIND. EXPAND OUR HORIZONS

At Airbus, we’re constantly looking for new, better ways to fly and that’s what Fly Your Ideas is all about.

What is Fly Your Ideas?


Airbus Fly Your Ideas is a biennial global competition, organised in partnership with UNESCO, which challenges students to innovate for the future of aviation. Students are invited to develop ideas around 1 or more of 6 key challenges: Efficiency, Passenger Experience, Energy, Affordable Growth, Traffic Growth, and Community Friendliness.

Who’s it for?

The competition is open to teams of 3 to 5 students from around the world, currently studying for a Bachelors, Masters or PhD in any academic discipline. Taking part is a unique opportunity for students to put their classroom learning and research to the test, by working with a team of Airbus professionals on the real-world challenges facing the aviation industry. It offers students a chance to apply their creativity in an exceptional learning environment that will equip them in a highly competitive job market.


How does it work?

In each edition, there are 3 progressively challenging rounds, then a final when the top selected teams present their ideas to a panel of Airbus and industry experts. The winners share the top prize of €30,000 and the runners up share €15,000.

How can I enter?

Fly Your Ideas 2015 is now finished. Keep checking back here for news of future editions, and sign up for our newsletter here. You can also join our Let’s Connect community, where the global Airbus Fly Your Ideas community networks, connects and shares their interest in innovation and the future of aviation.


The story so far

15,000+ students from 600 universities in over 100 countries worldwide so far! Fly Your Ideas challenges student teams from around the world to innovate with Airbus for the future of aviation. Here’s a snapshot of the competition, teams and ideas to date:


  • Fly Your Ideas 2009

    Fly Your Ideas 2009

    2350 students take part in the inaugural Fly Your Ideas competition

  • Fly Your Ideas 2011

    Fly Your Ideas 2011

    2,620 students from 75 countries with 84 teams making it to Round 2

  • Fly Your Ideas 2013

    Fly Your Ideas 2013

    UNESCO comes on board with patronage of Fly Your Ideas 2013

  • Fly Your Ideas 2015

    Fly Your Ideas 2015

    Team Mulitfun – our first ‘virtual team’ took home the top prize


Fly Your Ideas 2009

Airbus launches Fly Your Ideas to inspire young people about contributing to the future of a more sustainable aviation industry, and to engage them in the search for innovative ideas to support this vision.

Team Coz from the University of Queensland, Australia took home the winning prize in June 2009. Their project focused on the use of a pioneering natural fibre composite made from castor plants, for aircraft cabin materials.

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

The other finalist teams in 2009 were the ‘Big Bang Team’ from Universidad Politécnica de Valencia in Spain, who gained attention for their windowless cabin concept in a new eco-efficient aircraft design.

Team Kometa Brno from Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic developed a project on an energy recuperation system for aircraft taxiway movements using electro-motors charged during landing. 

And the Stanford ADG team from Stanford University in the USA also made the final for their proposal on inverted V-formation flight, building on the patterns of migrating birds to reduce energy consumption. 


Fly Your Ideas 2011

By 2011, Fly Your Ideas had caught the imagination of students from non-technical disciplines too. This year, 20% of entrants were studying subjects as diverse as marketing, business, management or design. 76% of competing teams were international and multidisciplinary. This reflects the diversity within Airbus too, with over 100 nationalities and 20 languages among our 61,000 employees.

Five finalist teams were selected to participate in a VIP trip to Paris in June 2011, where they presented their projects to a jury of Airbus and industry experts. The winning team was announced at the Fly Your Ideas 2011 awards ceremony at the International Paris Air Show – Le Bourget.


The Fly Your Ideas 2011 winning team was Team Wings of Phoenix from China – Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Their winning idea was based on a ground-based wind power generation system derived from aircraft wakes.

This year’s runner up was Team Condor from Chile – Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, for their novel alternative design for an aerodynamic speed brake that would recover energy for on-board reuse. Team Condor went on to publish a book about their thrilling and enriching Fly Your Ideas experience .

Other Fly Your Ideas 2011 finalist teams were: Team O3 from India – Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, for their proposal on how to prevent aircraft icing by the use of water-repelling polymer coatings.

Team Msia on Mars from Malaysia – Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology also made it to the final selection for their idea about using biodegradable materials from Kapok tree fibres for aircraft thermal and acoustic insulation blankets used for aircraft cabins.

Team SSE from Sweden – Stockholm School of Economics qualified for the final with their formulation of an ECO points scheme to promote environmentally-friendly flying.

The Fly Your Ideas 2011 video prize winner was Team Ecolution from Spain – Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid, for the effective and well-presented visual demonstration of the implementation of low weight natural fibre composites in aircraft cargo containers.


Fly Your Ideas 2013

With a new focus on innovation for the future of aviation, Fly Your Ideas 2013 had the biggest impact to date, with more than double the number of teams participating in comparison to previous years.

Once again 5 teams were selected for the final – selected from tough competition amongst the 618 teams who entered the challenge. The finalists - from Australia, Brazil, India, Italy and Malaysia - comprised 22 students of 9 different nationalities, and a range of disciplines, once again demonstrating that diversity makes a difference when it comes to innovation and performance. They enjoyed a remarkable week behind the scenes with Airbus in Toulouse, and a VIP welcome at the UNESCO HQ in Paris.


Team Levar from the University of São Paulo, Brazil were the winners. They considered the sustainability of the people within the industry and proposed 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.

Runners up Team Clima from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia made an impact with their proposal to develop aircraft fuelled by a blend of sustainably produced liquefied biomethane and liquefied natural gas (Bio-LNG).

Other finalists included Team AVAS from SRM University, India with an idea 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.

Team Flybrid, Technical University of Milan, Italy won their place in the final with an idea for an electric/turboprop combination for hybrid propulsion in regional aircraft. This system uses batteries pre-charged on ground and not in-flight. Their success in reaching the final in 2013 inspired the team to attend the renowned AIAA conference the following year to present their ideas to the delegates there.

Team Embarker,University Putra Malaysia, Malaysia were the 5th finalists, with an idea for 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.

The video competition proved to be even more popular with the winning team securing over 100,000 public votes.

Fly Your Ideas 2015

Taking on 6 key challenges for the sustainable aviation industry of the future, Fly Your Ideas 2015 was the most diverse competition to date. 71% of teams, comprising a mix of students from different nationalities, genders, and/or studying different subjects took part in the challenge, and Team Bolleboos were the first all-female team in the final. The winning team also made history by being a truly ‘virtual’ team. The 5 members of Team Multifun all met in person for the first time at the final event, coming from different corners of the world: The Netherlands (Delft University of Technology),India (Indian Institute of Science Bangalore), the UK (City University London) and the USA (Georgia Tech).


Once again 5 teams were selected for the final – tough competition from 518 teams who entered the 2015 competition. They presented their ideas to a distinguished jury after an intensive week of coaching and preparation, as well as a chance to see behind the scenes at Airbus’ Hamburg site in Germany.

Winning Team Multifun’s idea is all about good vibrations. The team’s idea entails aircraft wings dressed in a composite skin that harvests energy from natural vibrations or flex in the wings. This reduces the energy footprint of aircraft during flight and could even replace the entire power source for ground operations.


Our 2015 runners-up were Team Retrolley from University of São Paulo, Brazil. They worked closely with aviation industry representatives to come up with a system that tackles waste reduction in-flight and cuts down the time taken to collect and sort rubbish post-flight, speeding up airline operations particularly for short-haul carriers.

Representing The University of Tokyo,Japan, Team Birdport proposed deploying a flock of drones or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to guide birds from airports to a comfortable habitat nearby. The idea is designed to reduce bird strikes to aircraft significantly and to enhance aircraft availability.

Inspired by games console motion-sensing technology, Team Aft-Burner-Reverser from Northwestern Polytechnical University, China proposed a new model aircraft guidance system for use when taxiing. It is designed to reduce the turnaround time of aircraft between flights and the cost of damage, saving airlines millions per year.

Hailing from Italy, Spain and The Netherlands, and studying at City University London, UK, Team Bolleboos developed a pioneering WEGO system that picks up energy during taxiing. Transmitter sections on the ground, located just underneath the aircraft in the tarmac, transfer electrical power inductively to a receiver placed between the nose-wheels. This provides a sustainable energy source to power ground operations, reducing carbon emissions by half.

Finally, with over 15 000 votes for their video, Team eMeals from Georgia Tech, USA took home the top prize in the Fly Your Ideas 2015 Video Competition.


Fly Your Ideas Stories

Read stories from previous Fly Your Ideas finalists and get their tips on what it takes to make a winning team.

  • Team CoZ

    Team CoZ

    The 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 Multifun

    Team Multifun

    Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands


  • Team eMeals

    Team eMeals

    Georgia Institute of Technology, US


Team Coz, the University of Queensland, Australia

Multinational team CoZ from the University of Queensland, Australia, was awarded the winning prize in June 2009. Their project focused on the use of a pioneering natural fibre composite made from castor plants for use in aircraft cabins.


Alex Ching-Tai NG

The thing I enjoyed the most was working with my team to develop something from scratch, and seeing our idea become a real product, with potential to be applied to the industry.

After we identified our project, the timing was the first challenge as we needed to complete the project in a short time frame, 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!

Our idea became an on-going project between the university and Airbus.

My advice for students taking part in Fly Your Ideas would be not to underestimate 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


 



Team Solaire Voyager, the National University of Singapore

Team 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 thought that Fly Your Ideas 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.

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

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.



Francisco

I really enjoyed working with other people and being able to learn so much from them. 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.

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!





Guiomar

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

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 realising 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 internship 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.

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

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 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.

For students taking part in this competition now I would say that this is a real chance to challenge yourself… and do something for the environment.


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.


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 love aeronautics so Fly Your Ideas 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






Lijun Pan

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.

 






Xinyuan Zheng

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.


See the moment Wings of Phoenix found out they had won in 2011

Team Multifun, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Team Multifun from Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands have been crowned champions of the fourth edition of Airbus Fly Your Ideas global student competition, organised in partnership with UNESCO to encourage the next generation of innovators and uncover future solutions for the future of flight.


The five dynamic members of the all Indian team have been able to work 24 hours a day by interacting across physical boundaries from four different locations around the world, as they are based in India (Indian Institute of Science Bangalore), the UK (City University London), the USA (Georgia Tech) and the Netherlands (Delft University of Technology). Keeping very efficient interactions between them, the Multifun team members met physically for the very first time at the final round of the event this week, where they managed to present the most disruptive idea for the future of aviation.

Mohit Gupta

Would you encourage other students to participate in FYI?

I would definitely encourage other students to participate in Fly Your Ideas. I have signed up for two editions of Fly Your Ideas, in 2013 and 2015 – and was a member of the winning Team Multifun in 2015. What I learnt between editions is that it’s not about individual performance, but about working well as a team – we described the process as 'Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing'. 

What was the most challenging aspect of participating in FYI?

FYI demands a time investment of nearly 7 months if a student team is dedicated to reach the finals. It initially is challenging to form a diverse team and plan activities among team members. 

What was the most rewarding aspect of participating in FYI?

Out of the many rewarding aspects, I would like to talk about 3 of the most significant ones.

1)  Fly your Ideas is one such competition which gives you a chance to propose an Idea to Airbus, work on it with the help of Airbus Employees who have the experience and technical expertise, and subsequently, gain confidence in yourself after giving your idea a beautiful shape.

2)  Fly Your Ideas provides a platform where we can apply our knowledge and skills gained during studies, directly to an industry framework. Though it is hard to fulfill the commitment towards FYI, once there is a commitment, the efforts really paid off at the end.

3)  Probably the most cherished reward- “Being Connected”. Apart from this, I met Dr. Sandy Magnus, Former Astronaut in NASA, who is a 1996 Alumnus from my institute, Georgia Tech. I never got a chance to meet her, though she is an advisory board member of Georgia Tech, Aerospace Engineering.

For more stories and news about Fly Your Ideas participants, please follow our website or Let' s Connect.


Team eMeals, Georgia Institute of Technology, US

Team eMeals from Georgia Tech, USA, winners of the Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2015 Video Competition! They received 15,154 validated votes for their video, with viewers from all around the world showing Team eMeals their support. They presented their project idea - Enhanced Meal Experience with Airborne Light Systems – in the most impressive way that attracted the highest number of votes. 

Mathilde Deveraux

Would you encourage other students to participate in FYI?

I would definitely encourage other students to participate in FYI as it was a great experience. I learnt a lot about team management when I was the team leader, I also learnt about cabin systems and the different problems related to the implementation of a new system on board. The help provided by the Airbus mentor and expert was key in developing and going forward with our idea.

This experience is unforgettable and enabled us to go beyond what we already knew and learnt during class to develop a new system that could be applied in the real life, not just a school project.

What was the most rewarding aspect of participating in FYI?

In addition, winning the video challenge showed us that passengers find our idea to be interesting and that we did a good job in sharing it. Nowadays, when I talk about the project during interviews, managers are interested in it and want to learn more about it. Hence, delivering an idea that makes people think and that they remember after some time is extremely rewarding.

Raphaël Gautier

Would you encourage other students to participate in FYI?

Firstly, student competitions are a great way to actually apply all the theoretical knowledge that we gather over years of attending college. Secondly, student competitions also are a great way to make your school and yourself more visible. This is the opportunity to represent your college in a competition opposing international teams from all over the world. Personally, I find this aspect of the Fly Your Ideas competition very exciting. Moreover, I guess this is also the kind of extra-curricular experiences in which potential employers are interested: it somehow proves your ability, or at least your wish, to innovate on cutting-edge engineering topics.

What was the most challenging aspect of participating in FYI?

In my opinion, the most challenging aspect of the competition is that it does not follow the traditional engineering approach which we are taught and which is used in industry, where requirements fully drive the design of the system.

What was the most rewarding aspect of participating in FYI?

Actually, I think I have learned much more during this semester while working on the eMeals project than on most of my classes. I feel like the various set of engineering techniques we have acquired in the past now forms a solid base on which build upon trough personal – and much more complex – projects.

For more stories and news about Fly Your Ideas participants, please follow our website or Let's Connect.


Fly Your Ideas Challenges 2015

We want students to propose ideas that correspond to six key challenges for aviation in the 21st Century.

Find out more about the six areas we have identified by clicking on each challenge on the right


  • Energy

    Energy

    The cost of powering aircraft with jet fuel, the current source of aviation energy will rise as...

  • Efficiency

    Efficiency

    Driving down the real costs (monetary and environmental) of aviation will be achieved by...

  • Affordable Growth

    Affordable Growth

    We’ll need more aircraft to meet this extra demand and replace existing aircraft, with an...

  • Traffic Growth

    Traffic Growth

    Since the 1980s the number of flights has more than doubled allowing more people around the world to...

  • Passenger Experience

    Passenger Experience

    Passengers want safety and efficiency with comfort and entertainment on board - but the...

  • Community Friendliness

    Community Friendliness

    As airports have grown, so too have the communities around them, benefiting from the...

Energy

The cost of powering those aircraft with jet fuel, the current source of aviation energy, will rise as reserves reduce. Fuel is currently 25% or more of an airline’s operating cost and we can now fly almost twice as far on each kilo of fuel than 40 years ago. However, we’re now flying ten times further than we were in the ‘70s.

Energy

ENERGY

Jet fuel is the current source of aviation energy. As reserves reduce, prices will rise. Although air travel is much more fuel efficient than 40 year ago (we can now fly almost twice as far on each kilo of fuel), we are also now flying 10 times further than in the 1970’s, so our overall level of consumption has increased.

Fuel is currently 25% or more of an airline’s operating cost. But prices are volatile and subject to external pressures – for example, political uncertainties in oil-producing nations. 

Reducing our reliance on fossil fuel will be positive for the environment, and will ultimately stabilize costs for the customer.

See how Airbus is already addressing the Energy challenge with the Electric Plane, Biofuel and Fuel Cells.


RECENT AIRBUS INNOVATIONS

The Electric Plane - the Airbus E-FAN

This is a small experimental aircraft powered entirely by electricity. Its current maximum flying time is around 30 minutes, which we hope extend to over an hour. Next, we want to expand the E-FAN into a 4 - seater aircraft, using a hybrid system, with the eventual aim of expanding electric power into wider commercial flight, and so reduce the sector's jet fuel use.

But here’s the conundrum. The A380 has a wingspan of 262 feet and can theoretically carry up to 853 people, but the diminutive E-Fan 2.0 has a wingspan of just 31 feet and carries 2 passengers.


AIRBUS FUTURE CONCEPTS

Biofuel

Sustainable aviation fuels produced from renewable resources can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80% per tonne of fuel. Finding sustainable fuels that can be produced in commercial quantities (without competing with food crops and water supplies) is the only medium-term alternative to fossil fuels in order to power large commercial jetliners.

Alternative fuels have powered around 1,500 commercial flights to date. We believe that up to a third of aviation fuel could come from alternative sources by 2030.


Fuel Cells

A fuel cell transforms chemical energy from a fuel (such as hydrogen) into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen, or another oxidizing agent. The only waste is water, heat and oxygen-depleted air, which would contribute to reductions in emissions and noise when applied aboard an airliner.

Water produced from this process also can be used by the aircraft’s water and waste systems, so reducing the amount of water an aircraft needs on board. Reducing weight will also decrease fuel consumption and emissions.

As far back as 2008, Airbus, DLR and Michelin performed flight evaluations of a fuel cell emergency power system on a test bed A320. The fuel cell was installed on a cargo pallet and produced 25 kW of electrical power – operating the electric motor pump for the aircraft’s back-up hydraulic circuit, and controlling the spoilers, ailerons and elevator actuator.



OVER TO YOU

How will your idea accelerate one of these initiatives into commercial development? Or perhaps you’ve got another way of solving the energy challenge for us to explore?


Efficiency

Driving down the real costs (monetary and environmental) of aviation will be achieved by continuing to improve the efficiency of new aircraft, make better use of resources and improve business performance all round.


Efficiency

EFFICIENCY

The real cost of providing air transport services has decreased by over 60%. This reduction has been largely passed on to passengers, enabling more people than ever to fly.

But there’s more pressure than ever to find efficiencies, as costs like fuel increase. Continuing to driving down the real costs (both monetary and environmental) of aviation will be achieved by 

  • continuing to improve the efficiency of new aircraft
  • making better use of resources
  • improving business performance all round

See how Airbus is already addressing the Efficiency challenge with the Perfect Flight, Biomimicry and the Concept Plane


RECENT AIRBUS INNOVATIONS 

There are 5 key aspects of the aviation life cycle that we believe contribute to improving efficiency: Design, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Operations and Aircraft End-of-Life. It’s our commitment to these principles that has led to the development of the very latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies in the A350 XWB to provide a 25% step-change in fuel efficiency compared to its current long-range competitor. 

The Perfect Flight

A ‘perfect flight’ brings together best practices to reduce the air transport sector’s environmental footprint, combining the operation of Airbus’ fuel-efficient modern aircraft, using sustainable aviation fuels, streamlined Air Traffic Management (ATM) procedures and optimised operations.

The first North American ‘Perfect Flight’ took place during June 2012 in a joint effort between Airbus and Air Canada. This activity utilised an A319 flying from Toronto to Mexico City, with the aircraft powered by a 50% sustainable aviation fuel blend made with used cooking oil. Further enhancements to this flight’s eco-efficiency included streamlined Air Traffic Management (ATM) procedures, use of Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) into the destination area, single-engine taxiing on the ground and external cleaning for improved aerodynamics. 

In August 2013, Airbus and Air Canada received aeronautical publication Air Transport World’s Eco-partnership Award in honour of their successful ‘Perfect Flight’ collaboration.


AIRBUS FUTURE CONCEPTS

Biomimicry

What do velvet, the skin of a shark, and advancements in aircraft aerodynamics have in common? The answer rests in a field of scientific study that involves examining what can be extracted, learned and duplicated from the natural world. 

Known as ‘biomimicry’, or biologically inspired engineering, this is the study and imitation of nature’s best ideas to help solve human challenges. A growing number of aeronautical innovations have been inspired by an array of natural structures, organs and materials – and these tried and tested patterns of the natural world will continue to be a powerful source of inspiration in the future. 

The Concept Plane

This is the result of future-gazing by Airbus to explore blueprints for radical aircraft interiors.  Our engineers envision morphing seats made from ecological, self-cleaning materials which change shape for a snug fit… walls that become see-through at the touch of a button, affording 360-degree views of the world below … and holographic projections of virtual decors, allowing travellers to transform their private cabin into an office, bedroom or even a zen garden.



OVER TO YOU

How will your idea accelerate one of these initiatives into commercial development? Or perhaps you’ve got another way of solving the efficiency challenge for us to explore?


Affordable Growth

We’ll need more aircraft to meet this extra demand and replace existing aircraft, with an operating life of 20 to 30 years, with more fuel efficient variants. This means affordable growth is essential - by lowering the cost of manufacturing and increasing reliability and efficiency of passenger aircraft.

Affordable Growth

AFFORDABLE GROWTH

The aviation industry has grown rapidly over the last few decades, as more people in emerging markets reach income levels that enable them to fly, and use the aviation industry as powerful enabler of economic development. There are new customers, new connections, and more flights than ever before.

We’ll need more aircraft to meet this extra demand and replace existing aircraft (with an operating life of 20 to 30 years) with more fuel efficient variants.

Affordable growth - by lowering the cost of manufacturing and increasing reliability and efficiency of passenger aircraft – is essential to meet the growing passenger market

See how Airbus is already addressing the Affordable Growth challenge with Bionic Structures, Biopolymer Membrane and Composite Materials.


RECENT AIRBUS INNOVATIONS

We’re already using pioneering technology like composite materials to build lighter, longer lasting aircraft. But to keep up with demand, we need to find new ways of improving processes, and use new materials and technology to reduce costs.


AIRBUS FUTURE CONCEPTS

Bionic Structures

Future aircraft could be built using a bionic structure that mimics the bone structure of birds. Bone is both light and strong, because its porous interior carries tension only where necessary, leaving space elsewhere.

By using bionic structures, the fuselage has the strength it needs, but can also make the most of extra space where required. This not only reduces the aircraft's weight and fuel burn, but also makes it possible to add features like oversized doors for easier boarding, as well as panoramic windows.

Biopolymer membrane

The aircraft cabin's bionic structure will be coated with a biopolymer membrane, which controls the amount of natural light, humidity and temperature, providing opacity or transparency on command and eliminating the need for windows.

This smarter structure will make the aircraft lighter and more fuel-efficient while giving passengers 360 degree views of the skies, with unparalleled, unobstructed views - imagine seeing the Pyramids or the Eiffel Tower through the transparent walls of an airplane.

Composite Materials

Future materials may be very different to the materials we see and use today. In the future materials may not even take a solid state, but could be a composition of fluid and gas, for example.



OVER TO YOU

How will your idea accelerate one of these initiatives into commercial development? Or perhaps you’ve got another way of solving the affordable growth challenge for us to explore?


Traffic Growth

Since the 1980s the number of flights has more than doubled, allowing more people around the world to enjoy the benefits of air transport. People want to fly and people want to fly more. As economies grow and people get wealthier, we predict that traffic growth will continue to double in the next 15 years, making the skies extremely busy and taking airports to maximum capacity.


Traffic Growth

TRAFFIC GROWTH

People want to fly and people want to fly more. As economies grow and people get wealthier, we predict that traffic growth will continue to double in the next 15 years, taking airports to maximum capacity.

Over the past 30 years, passengers have benefited from a 250% rise in the number of weekly frequencies, valued by time-sensitive business travellers.

But extra flights require new airport infrastructure, air traffic control and airspace in already crowded skies, whilst maintaining maximum levels of safety and security. 

Adding capacity (new runways or terminal buildings) to existing airports, or building new airports is often a contentious and politicized process, often involving government intervention, as stakeholders consider the impact of congestion from flight delays, and the environmental impacts of noise and fuel consumption.

See how Airbus is already addressing the Traffic Growth challenge with Smarter Skies and Express Skyways.


RECENT AIRBUS INNOVATION

With new generation technology like ELISE (Exact Landing Interference Simulation Environment), Airbus is already facilitating safer aircraft landings with its advanced software. And the pioneering ‘steep approach’ capabilities of the A318 enable Airbus aircraft to land on shorter runways in built up areas. 

Required Navigation Performance (RNP) represents the latest in navigation techniques, allowing aircraft to fly precisely along a predefined route using state-of-the-art on-board navigation systems and the Global Positioning System (GPS) – resulting in improved efficiency, capacity and environmental performance.


AIRBUS FUTURE CONCEPTS

Smarter Skies

Even today, fully optimised (ATM) systems and technology on board aircraft could enable every flight in the world (estimated at 30 million annually) to be on average 13 minutes shorter. 

This would save around 9 million tonnes of excess fuel annually, or over 28 million tonnes of avoidable CO2 emissions, and over 500 fewer hours of excess flight times on board an aircraft for passengers. 

Combined with new aircraft design, alternative energy sources and new ways of flying and we predict even more significant improvements.

Express Skyways

In the future, highly intelligent aircraft would be able to ‘self-organise’ and select the most efficient and environmentally friendly routes (‘free flight) – to make optimum use of prevailing weather and atmospheric conditions. 

Trailing planes can effectively ‘surf’ on the energy coming from the wing tip vortices of the preceding aircraft, just as cyclists take advantage of the slipstream of other riders. This reduces drag, which increases fuel efficiency and minimises engine emissions.

Flights to and from the same area could rendezvous in mid-air before continuing their journey. This also would offer the potential to streamline air traffic control workload by treating each flock of aircraft as a single entity.



OVER TO YOU

How will your idea accelerate one of these initiatives into commercial development? Or perhaps you’ve got another way of solving the traffic growth challenge for us to explore?


Passenger Experience

Passengers want safety and efficiency with comfort and entertainment on board - but the passenger experience begins before you fly. On short haul flights, the time spent on check-in and boarding alone can frustratingly take longer than the flight itself, and this doesn’t include and time spent on baggage management.

Passenger Experience

PASSENGER EXPERIENCE

Passengers want safety and efficiency with comfort and entertainment on board - but the passenger experience begins before you fly. On short haul flights, the time spent on check-in and boarding alone can frustratingly take longer than the flight itself, not counting time spent on baggage management.

Travelling by airplane is still by far the fastest way for passengers to travel but the time and inconvenience of recently introduced security measures have had considerable impact on the passenger experience. 

Business travellers tend to require fastest possible transport options, older travellers seek greater comfort and convenience, leisure travellers (especially from emerging markets) are particularly sensitive to cost. 

Passenger growth from around the world is resulting in an increasingly socially, culturally, and ethnically diverse pool of customers each with unique needs. 

See how Airbus is already addressing the Passenger Experience challenge with Air Traffic Management to the 4th Dimension, and the Airbus Concept Cabin.


RECENT AIRBUS INNOVATION

Setting The Standards For Comfort

The A320 sets the standards for passenger comfort, with the widest fuselage of any single-aisle aircraft. Our engineers have developed a catalytic converter that removes foul odours from the air before it is pumped into a jetliner’s cabin. 

Airbus pioneered connectivity and we were the first manufacturer to receive certification for its on-board mobile phone system in June 2007. Our cabins are the quietest cabins in the sky, which greatly contributes to passengers feeling rested on reaching their destination. 

Airbus was the first manufacturer to introduce ambient lighting which has now become more widely adopted across the air transport industry. 

Anticipating Needs

We have embarked on a two-year global consultation with more than 1.75 million people at airshows, events and online, as part of the Future by Airbus programme – our vision of sustainable aviation in 2050. 

  • 63% of people worldwide say they will fly more by 2050 
  • 60% do not think social media will replace the need to see people face-to-face 
  • 96% believe aircraft will need to be more sustainable or ‘eco-efficient’ 
  • Almost 40% feel air travel (door-to-door) is increasingly stressful 
  • 86% of people think less fuel burn is key and 85% a reduction in carbon emissions 
  • 66% want quieter aircraft and 65% planes which are fully recyclable

AIRBUS FUTURE CONCEPTS

Air Traffic Management to the 4th Dimension

Known as I-4D (Initial-4D), this trailblazing technology’s main benefits will be a significant reduction of fuel burn and C02 emissions. The I-4D system relies on airborne computed predictions in ground systems to establish a sequence for all air traffic converging to a merging point in a congested area. 

We call it 4D-trajectory because it manages trajectory in three dimensions (lateral, longitudinal and vertical), and includes one target time at a specific merging point (with time as the fourth dimension). Advantages will include better predictability of the traffic flows and the facilitation of highly efficient Continuous Descent Operations into airports. 

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.



OVER TO YOU

How will your idea accelerate one of these initiatives into commercial development? Or perhaps you’ve got another way of solving the passenger experience challenge for us to explore?


Community Friendliness

As airports have grown, so too have the communities around them.  They benefit from the jobs and commerce that are drawn to airports, but at times also suffer from increases to airport operations. Reducing noise, air pollution and local traffic congestion means community friendliness has to be considered, especially as capacity around the world increases.

Community Friendliness

COMMUNITY FRIENDLINESS

As airports have grown, so too have the communities around them. They benefit from the jobs and commerce that are drawn to airports, but at times they can also suffer from increases to airport operations.

Reducing noise, air pollution and local traffic congestion means community friendliness must be considered, as capacity around the world increases.

26 ‘megacities’ of the world (with populations in excess of 10 million) account for more than 20% of air travel worldwide. This creates considerable local impact, in particular environmental costs from noise, air pollution and ground transport congestion.

But in spite of a considerable rise in the number of aircraft movements there has been a reduction in the number of people exposed to noise levels. This has allowed the expansion of services at some densely populated city hubs that otherwise would have been constrained.

Specialized support businesses tend to cluster around major hub airport cities providing employment opportunities and enriching the local economy.

See how Airbus is already addressing the Community Friendliness challenge with Steep Approach, Free Glide Approaches and Landing, Ground Operations and Eco-climb.


RECENT AIRBUS INNOVATIONS

Steep Approach

Downtown airports such as the UK’s London City typically feature shorter runways, stringent noise constraints and tall buildings or other obstacles in the vicinity – making regular flight operations more difficult for aircraft larger than regional airliners.

As a result, Airbus has been pioneering ‘steep approach’ capabilities with the A318 member of its best-selling A320 Family. In addition being able to land on short runways, the A318’s steep approach procedure enables a 5.5 degree descent angle rather than the standard 3 degrees.

In operations from London City, the A318 climbs and reaches cruising altitude more quickly than any other aircraft operating out of the airport, with significantly reduced noise compared to previous-generation jetliners.


AIRBUS FUTURE CONCEPTS

Free Glide Approaches and Landings

Allowing aircraft to take free glide approaches into airports would lower emissions during the overall decent and reduce noise during the steeper approach as there is no need for engine thrust or air breaking.

These approaches also would reduce the landing speed earlier, making shorter landing distances achievable, with less runway needed.

Ground Operations

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.

Eco-Climb

Aircraft launched through assisted takeoffs using renewably-powered, propelled acceleration will allow for steeper climb from airports to minimise noise and reach efficient cruise altitudes more quickly.

As space becomes a premium and mega-cities a reality, this approach also could minimise land use, as shorter runways could be utilised.



OVER TO YOU

How will your idea accelerate one of these initiatives into commercial development? Or perhaps you’ve got another way of solving the community friendliness challenge for us to explore?


  • 6 Challenges for the aviation industry in the 21st Century

    Today, over 1,000 commercial airlines operate more than 15,000 airliners, carrying 3.1bn people and 51.7m tonnes of freight every year. Find out about the six key challenges for students, to help reach this vision of the future. 

6 Challenges for the aviation industry in the 21st Century

Today, over 1,000 commercial airlines operate more than 15,000 airliners, carrying 3.1bn people and 51.7m tonnes of freight every year. An Airbus aircraft takes off or lands every two seconds.

But despite the rising costs of resources, flying is now 60% cheaper in real terms (for passengers and freight) than it was in the 1970s. More and more of us are now enjoying the benefits of a smaller world in comfort. Aircraft are lighter, quieter and more efficient than ever.

For Fly Your Ideas 2015 we set out six key challenges for students, to help reach this vision of the future:


Highlights from Airbus Innovation Week 2014

We came, we saw, we innovated…  The first ever Airbus Innovation Week at University of São Paulo in March 2014 was a great success.  If you want next year’s event to come to your university, sign up now for updates about Fly Your Ideas 2015. 

Highlights from Airbus Innovation Week 2014

We came, we saw, we innovated…  The first ever Airbus Innovation Week at University of São Paulo in March 2014 was a great success.  If you want next year’s event to come to your university, sign up now for updates about Fly Your Ideas 2015. 

You can still watch highlights from the week, or review all the action and events here. Get a taste of what happened when Airbus Innovators Gregor Dirks and Gary Wicks talked about how innovation and technology are creating the aircraft of the future, and how game-changing ideas are brought to life in big companies. 

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