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.