Fly Your Ideas: Data Services Challenge

Airbus generates a vast amount of data from various platforms and, as this challenge’s main sponsor Jean-Michel Darroy says, “Data is the new oil!”

Aircraft, helicopters, drones and satellites all produce information that could be the key to innovative new applications and services. These as yet undiscovered areas could revolutionise the aerospace industry, transform the passenger experience, or have a radical positive impact on domains such as security, the environment, smart cities and more. “Data is one of the most exciting domains of the modern world,” says Jean-Michel. “With Data Services, you can touch any Airbus product you choose and leverage the related data to an incredible variety of applications. There’s no limit to the participants’ creativity.”

Fly Your Ideas teams tackling the Data Services Challenge can look to start a traditional platform business, devise a means to improve production processes or extend a product life cycle. This might mean leveraging cloud computing power and machine learning techniques, or involve mixing a range of internal and external data to unleash some hidden potential.

The starting point will be thinking about new applications or services built on Airbus data from different sources. Proposals could be about industrial processes and the quality of workers’ lives, but they could also offer value-added services for Airbus’ customers, possibly using satellite or drone technology, or radical new solutions for travellers. As long as the idea uses data and aims to have a positive impact it will be considered.

“I got involved in Fly Your Ideas because I love the stimulating environment, this challenge is ‘Airbus wide’, and the rich cultural diversity of a global event is always a pleasure to work with,” concludes Jean-Michel. “My advice to applicants at this stage is to dream big, but also be very concrete in what you propose. Start prototyping as early as possible and always keep your ultimate user or customer in mind.”

Fly Your Ideas Challenge: Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence – AI – combines the raw computing power of machines with cognitive powers to learn, reason and perform tasks. Refining its application in aerospace to identify opportunities or entirely new business models is a 2019 Fly Your Ideas challenge.

“I’m curious to see what comes out of this,” says the AI challenge’s main sponsor Adam Bonnifield, head of Artificial Intelligence at Airbus. “We’re looking for a fresh idea that would make experienced people in the industry sit up and say ‘wow!’”

Why did Adam get involved? “Having spent some time in academia, Fly Your Ideas is a chance for me to reconnect with the student community and its out-of-the-box thinking,” he answers. “And AI is so much fun. It combines the hardest technical problems with pure creativity. It’s exciting to get in on the ground floor, as there simply aren’t many experts around.”

AI opportunities at Airbus are as diverse as the technology itself. Applications range from smart inventory management and helping astronauts onboard the International Space System to real-time pilot support. AI could detect quality issues on the shopfloor, or use Airbus’ imagery assets to design entirely new lines of business and services. It is already helping flight crews to make better decisions, optimising the global supply chain, and helping detect failure points in the manufacturing process.

Fly Your Ideas candidates could focus on AI solutions that support and extend Airbus’ existing expertise and open up new customer opportunities. This challenge is designed to empower students to assess the feasibility of their idea and prove its value to Airbus, and then prototype and build the concept into a working application.

Global student interest in digital aerospace competition soars

Airbus Fly Your Ideas digital platform is open for ideas. #flyyourideas

Toulouse, 10 September 2018 – With over 2,000 already registered, students can now access to the purpose-built digital competition platform under in order to upload their idea in Round 1 of the competition.

Airbus launched the sixth Fly Your Ideas competition in June 2018 and the next generation of innovators can now submit their proposals tackling one of the six challenges set out by Airbus (Electrification, Data Services, Cyber Security, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality). Students need to fill an online questionnaire about their idea, highlighting the technology behind it, market analysis, originality, added value and potential obstacles. In order to visualize the idea, the teams must also submit a simple sketch.

The Round 1 submission phase ends on 16 November 2018 and is followed by an online assessment where a team of Airbus specialists recruited from across the business will review and evaluate all submitted ideas. The live final of Fly Your Ideas will be held in 2019, where students will have the opportunity to showcase their ideas to an audience of industry experts. Fly Your Ideas is a global competition for universities and students from all over the world to innovate for the future of aerospace, including Commercial, Defence & Space and Helicopters. Airbus is seeking ideas that could change aerospace in the decades to come and create a safer, cleaner and better-connected world. The competition is an opportunity for students to build valuable employment skills including teamwork, project management and presentation skills and to apply their classroom learning to real-world challenges. As well as joining Airbus on site to further develop their ideas, up to six finalist teams will compete to share a prize fund of € 45,000 and the chance to take their idea forward within the industry.

Since the competition launched in 2008, over 20,000 students from more than 650 universities in over 100 countries have been involved. Since 2012, the competition has been supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO underlines the value of this partnership. “Fly Your Ideas is an inspirational endeavour for students around the world and UNESCO is proud to be a part of this initiative. The new challenges will allow students to think outside the box and come up with sustainable solutions for global problems beyond aerospace – exactly what the world needs from our future generations!”

To find more about Airbus Fly your Ideas, visit our website which now has additional features such as a live social media wall featuring the latest Fly Your Ideas news and updates as well as new “People and Jobs” and “Future of Flight” pages focusing on digitally oriented profiles and careers as well as Innovation at Airbus. Additionally join the Facebook community at

Team DAELead: One year on from their Fly Your Ideas victory

For the second half of our interview series, we spoke to our 2017 winners Team DAELead. Stewart, Darwing, Hayden and Leo’s winning innovation is a clever aircraft cabin design that locates a Private Stowage Compartment (PSC) underneath passengers’ feet, utilising the space between the cabin floor and the cargo ceiling. Keep reading to find out about Team DAELead’s progress, one year on.

Has your idea progressed further?

”We have further developed our idea with our Capstone Design Project during our senior year in the university. We have polished the idea with more calculation in structure, material aspects and implemented a better opening mechanism. We intend to work further on the idea in the future.” Inspired by their Fly Your Ideas success, the team entered the Hult Prize, reaching the regional final in Singapore with another creative idea which utilises drones to pre-alert the traffic ahead of emergency vehicles, allowing the emergency services to reach the scene within a shorter timeframe.

Has being involved in Fly Your Ideas impacted what you are doing now?

The team agree that the competition confirmed their interest in aerospace and engineering and has allowed them to explore employment possibilities within these fields. Stewart has been accepted onto the Cadet Pilot Programme at Cathay Pacific and will begin his training in Adelaide in September. Darwing is also looking forward to flight training sponsored by a scholarship. Hayden is resuming his studies after completing a one-year internship at a local railway company, while Leo has been offered a job at Cathay Pacific as a Graduate Engineer.

What advice do you have for teams taking on Fly Your Ideas 2019?

”Think in a broader way in Round 1, [and] explore more possibilities in the six aspects. Then, try to evaluate the idea with its feasibility and impact, to polish the idea to a presentable proposal.” The team also encourage students to be open to guidance. ”Seek for suggestions and opinions from your Airbus mentor and other experts in the aviation field to make [your project] even better.”

Want to follow in Team DAELead’s footsteps and develop your own unique innovation? Register now to take on the 2019 challenge!

Top Tips for Fly Your Ideas Success

Do you have what it takes to soar in the competition? The Fly Your Ideas adventure made a real impact on many of the students who previously took part in the competition. Some of our former participants have prepared some useful advice to inspire you ahead of the launch of Round 1 on 10 September.


Teamwork is a valuable skill that can be applied in almost all aspects of life. As Mattia Bucari of Team Flybrid (2013) tells us, ‘’Fly Your Ideas helps me to understand the importance, in a project, of considering all the different points of view coming from the different members of a team.’’ Recognise the value that diversity can bring to your team: every winning team since the competition began in 2008 has mixed gender, nationalities or disciplines.

Be confident

Judit Guimera Busquets of Team Bolleboos (2015) encourages participants to have confidence in their ideas and abilities. ‘’We are the ones setting up our own limits. It’s just a matter of believing more in ourselves.’’ Equally, Javier Vidal Muria of Team Big Bang (2009) encourages students to push themselves. ‘’[The competition] made me realise that I had to step out of my comfort zone to be competitive.’’

Build your network

Fly Your Ideas is a unique opportunity to work alongside Airbus experts and establish industry contacts. Lucas Otsuka of Team Retrolley, the runner-up team in 2015, encourages participants to make the most of networking opportunities to expand their project’s potential. ‘’Getting to know key people at Airbus was fundamental to get the idea to the market after the competition.’’

Utilise expert support

Expert support is available to Round 2 teams to help develop ideas and provide technical advice.. Mario Selvaggio of Team Grossomodo (2015) says, ‘’We had the opportunity to work with an engineer from Airbus (that introduced us the world of industry, with all the problems and responsibilities) and with a professor from Germany (our Academic Mentor).’’ Make the most of the advice they can offer to make your project the best it can be.

Develop your soft skills

Fly Your Ideas is more than just an innovation competition. It is a chance to hone your soft skills and gain experience in writing, project management and pitching your ideas. Kosisochukwu Anyaegbuna of Team Nevada (2017) says, ‘’the world needs innovators. Airbus Fly Your Ideas will not only teach you how to change the world through innovation but will give you the skills required to change the world!’’

If these tips have inspired you, register for the competition and let your ideas fly!

Fly Your Ideas, one year on: Catching up with Team Aquarius

Team Aquarius from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia, were runners-up in our 2017 competition for their aerial fire-fighting solution. We caught up with Anil, Philipp and Kerry one year on.

What happened after the competition?

Talking about her experience after the competition, Kerry says, ‘’I was absolutely shocked at the flow of events that occurred for me and my team. We have been invited to present to high level officials in our university, been in numerous articles online as well as in print, interviewed by the local radio, flown to regional Australia to promote aviation and RMIT, presented to His Royal Highness Andrew Duke of York as well as numerous other opportunities. It has been a true whirlwind.’’

Did the idea develop further?

The team continued to investigate technical and socio-economic fire-fighting solutions, including education on forest fire prevention, early detection technologies and fire-retardant materials. Philipp tells us, ‘’With the global fire situation, recently again in Sweden, Greece and the US, there is still a huge need to address the problem.’’

What is the team doing now?

The competition has left a lasting impact on all the team members. Philipp, who now works as an Aerospace Design and Systems Engineer, says ‘’Developing this idea has helped me realise that I want to work on something in my life closely associated with people, with a direct benefit to others.’’ Next year he will travel to Sri Lanka to spend six months developing a Learning Centre.

Kerry continues to study a double degree in Aviation and Business Management and is about to complete an internship at Airbus DS in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Anil is preparing to submit his doctoral thesis in Aerospace Engineering. He says, ‘’the visibility gained from this competition has opened doors for many career opportunities after my PhD studies, both in academia and industry.’’

Advice for 2019 teams…

The team have plenty of wisdom to offer students taking on the 2019 challenge. Anil encourages students to use the experience as an opportunity to develop teamwork skills. ‘’It is very important to have a diverse and dynamic team. You will learn a lot amongst each other by having a team with different skillsets and fields.‘’ Finally, Kerry says ‘’There is no right idea or wrong idea. Just ones that make sense and can exist easily within the world, improving people’s lives.’’

Feeling inspired to develop your own idea and join the 2019 challenge? Register now!

How Fly Your Ideas launched a stellar year for Kerry

Back in May 2017, Team Aquarius were enjoying the excitement of being Fly Your Ideas finalists and eventual runners up in the closely-fought competition. But their journey was far from over, as team member Kerry Philips has been telling us.

In just over a year, Kerry has made the jump from student finalist to securing a prestigious internship with Airbus’ German innovation team. She told us, “I have so much freedom with opportunities to travel across the globe, to work with a diverse range of people and to implement my own ideas. Airbus is incredibly flexible and have let me do things I never would have expected. It’s exactly where I want to be.”

Kerry was also a coach for student teams at the recent Airbus Airnovation Summer Academy, where we asked her to tell us about her Fly Your Ideas experience. Watch her describe how her team found themselves in the spotlight, and how this competition created opportunities to share, showcase and gather support for their idea.

To see where Fly Your Ideas could take you, register now for #flyyourideas 2019!

Why get involved in Fly Your Ideas?

Registration is now open for Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2019, and there are many reasons to get involved. These are the top five reasons why you should sign up to be part of this global student competition. Read on for inspiration!

  1. Understand the challenges of the future aerospace industry and gain valuable insights

Employers and universities reviewing applications will want to see how you have demonstrated your interest in aerospace and innovation. Progressing in Fly Your Ideas means that you can confidently claim insight and personal experience in these areas.

  1. Benefit from the expertise and experience of Airbus employees

Want an opportunity to interact and work closely with Airbus experts? You will have the chance to focus on real industry challenges alongside Airbus experts as you move forward in the competition. Teams selected for Round 2 will have a dedicated Airbus mentor to help guide and refine their ideas.

  1. Improve your employability skills

Professional skills – teamwork, project management, presentation and communications – are highly valued by employers, yet hard to acquire solely through your studies. You’ll develop these skills and more in the competition.

  1. Apply classroom learning to a real industry challenge

Taking part in Fly Your Ideas is a chance to apply your classroom learning and get some impressive experience working on a real-world aerospace challenge. Airbus has identified 6 key challenges to focus on with students from all over the world.

  1. Work across borders with people of diverse profiles and nationalities

Diversity unlocks innovation and creative thinking and is at the heart of this initiative. Since the Fly Your Ideas competition launched in 2008, more than 20,000 students from over 650 universities in over 100 countries have taken part. Developing your idea with a team of people from different backgrounds or profiles during Fly Your Ideas is great preparation for working in diverse and multidisciplinary teams during your professional life.

But these are not the only reasons why you should get involved. The top teams that make it to the final round will get the chance to visit the “ProtoSpace” based at Airbus HQ to test and visualise their ideas using state-of-the-art equipment with personalized guidance from Airbus. And let’s not forget the chance of sharing the €45,000 grand prize if your team makes it to the final.

Encouraged to start your own Airbus Fly Your Ideas journey? Then register now.