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.


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!


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.