Airbus selects seven finalist teams to shape the future of aerospace

Airbus experts have selected seven teams for the 2019 final of world-class competition Fly Your Ideas which invites students from around the world to innovate in key areas for the industry: Electrification, Data Services, Cyber Security, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality. The finalist teams were selected after a three-month development phase working with support from Airbus mentors.

Fly Your Ideas gives students the opportunity to develop exceptional or radical ideas for tomorrow’s aerospace industry. The selected concepts represent a range of trendsetting topics such as a ‘Smart Wheelchair’ for air travel or a ‘Solar Windmill’.

The finalist team members represent 11 countries (Argentina, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Moldavia, Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom), 8 different universities and were selected from over 270 entries worldwide. Their academic backgrounds vary from Engineering to Information Technology and Natural Sciences to Finance.

In June, the teams will travel to Toulouse, France to work in Airbus’ innovation and R&D facilities to further develop, prototype or visualise their ideas using state-of-the-art equipment with support from Airbus. On 27th June, the students will present their projects in front of Airbus experts and personalities from the aerospace and academic world, live-streamed in parallel to a global audience.

The students, competing for a share of the €45,000 prize fund and the chance to further evolve their idea in the aerospace industry, are clearly motivated by the digital nature of this year’s challenge, and the chance to change the world with their ideas.

The seven finalist teams are:

Airbus Integrated Fisheries Information Services (Data Services Challenge) –Team AirFish, University of Cambridge, UK

AirFish is an ocean monitoring system using satellite imagery and video imaging technology. It can help governments combat illegal fishing, reduce bycatch of endangered species, and generally decrease damages to the marine habitat. This project aims to improve the efficiency of fish farming, making food production more affordable whilst reducing open-water fishing and thus environmental impacts.

Automated Intelligent Real-Time Quality Inspection Exploiting Human-Robot-Collaboration (Artificial Intelligence Challenge) – Team AIQinspect, Saarland University, Germany

AIQinspect will assist the human operator in performing rivet inspection by using Artificial Intelligence. Quality is predicted based on images and physical parameters while riveting in real time. The resulting information is communicated to the operator via Augmented Reality.

Batteryless Wireless Switches for Airplanes (Internet of Things Challenge) – Team “Zero” Heroes, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

Application of wireless systems in aircraft instead of traditional wired systems. This idea solves the main limitation for IoT in aircraft by removing battery integration – a current challenge for safety and regulation. Furthermore it reduces fuel consumption and weight while simplifying aircraft retrofit and maintenance needs.

Motor Intra-body Cooling System – MICS (Electrification Challenge) – Team Osprey, University of Strathclyde, UK

Replacing the traditional method of cooling electric motors with a water jacket or submerged cooling with a cooling system integrated inside the body of the motor itself. This project has the potential to provide mass effective motors for future Urban Air Mobility and Hybrid Electric aircraft.

The Solar Windmill (Electrification Challenge) – Team Seren, University of Cambridge, UK

A novel method of electricity generation for spacecraft using trapped high energy particles. Using two concentric aluminium spheres, the energetic electrons flux from solar wind trapped in planetary magnetic fields can be collected and harnessed to generate power. This innovative approach aims to store and generate energy in deep space where the current density from sunlight is low.

SWAN – Smart Wheelchair for Air travel Needs (Internet of Things Challenge) – Team Move-ez, Technical University of Milan, Italy

SWAN is an innovation that aims to revolutionize the air-travel experience of Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM) using IoT technology. It converts a redesigned class of detachable airplane seats into smart electric wheelchairs that passengers can use from check-in to arrival. It is fully controllable by smartphone through a dedicated app.

V.A.C.A. – Earth-obserVation-data based Application for stoCkbreeding Administration (Data Services Challenge) – Team V.A.C.A, National University of La Plata, Argentina

V.A.C.A. is an integrated service for stockbreeders, based on Earth observation, meteorological and IoT data applied to agriculture. V.A.C.A. aims to provide actionable information to stockbreeders on quality and quantity of pastures, number of animals in paddocks as well as the physical condition of cattle.

Teams will share project updates, photos, sketches and stories using #flyyourideas with their posts captured on the social wall of the competition website.

Airbus Fly Your Ideas is a global competition challenging students worldwide to innovate for the future of aerospace, designed and launched by Airbus in 2008 and organised in partnership with UNESCO since 2012. Since 2008, over 22,000 students have registered for Fly Your Ideas from over 700 universities and 100 countries worldwide, with more than 500 Airbus employees contributing their mentorship and expertise to support the competition.

For more details and information on the finalists, please visit

2015 winner returns to take on Fly Your Ideas 2019

Mohit Gupta is back with Team Optibag from Georgia Tech, US. Like an Olympian, he’s going for gold and ready to reclaim his title as Fly Your Ideas champion. To find out more, we caught up with Mohit on his third Fly Your Ideas adventure.

Most people know that I participated in Airbus Fly Your Ideas in 2015 as I was part of the winning team, Multifun. However, nobody knows that I participated in the 2013 edition as well. At that time, I worked to improve the design of the engine cowl’s inlet for maximum inflow of air to reduce the chance of aircraft stall. We reached Round 2, but our team was not selected for the final. I never gave up and ended up winning the 2015 edition and I am still here, participating in 2019.

Fly Your Ideas is the best avenue for students like me to bring out the best in ourselves. It gives us a chance to learn, innovate, get feedback from industry experts and test our ideas on real-life situations. It is truly the Olympics of Aerospace Engineering for students.

As Fly Your Ideas turns its focus to digital solutions, we can clearly see how the competition reflects the research, development and innovation going on in the aerospace industry. The industry is gradually pivoting towards innovation in areas such as Mixed Reality and Artificial Intelligence.

This year, my team Optibag are competing in the Data Services challenge. Our idea uses data to identify an optimum trim for an aircraft based on the flight conditions. This tells us where the Center of Gravity should be, and we have developed a platform which uses baggage loading to achieve the optimum trim and minimise fuel consumption. We also came up with a dynamic programming enabled machine learning algorithm which provides a platform to optimise baggage loading using the data collected.

I have gained so much from Fly Your Ideas over the years, that it is hard for me to summarise everything. My message to the students out there is to be persistent and keep innovating, because even if you don’t win, this experience will enhance your capabilities to take on the real challenges in the future.

The Fly Your Ideas alumnus shaping Airbus’ digital future

From Fly Your Ideas to a high-flying career! Chamendra Amarasinghe took part in Airbus Fly Your Ideas in 2015 and made it to Round 2 with Team Ivy from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia. He now works as a Business Developer at Skywise, Airbus’ cutting-edge open data platform. We caught up with Chamendra to find out more.

During the Fly Your Ideas competition, Chamendra’s team developed innovative hybrid joints for titanium-carbon fibre interfaces using additive manufacturing (metal 3D printing). He explains: ‘While the aviation industry is transitioning to composite material, drilling techniques from metal aircraft production are still used, which could potentially damage the composite materials. This new method could potentially reduce this risk, leading to a stronger and longer-lasting joint.’

Following the competition, Chamendra pursued his interest in digital solutions at Airbus’ Saint-Nazaire plant in France, working on Digital Transformation for Quality in the A320 aircraft family. This involved carefully observing the current way of work and finding ways to implement digital tools and processes to ease the workload.

In 2018, Chamendra joined Skywise – a project described by Marc Fontaine, Airbus Digital Transformation Officer and Patron of the Fly Your Ideas competition, as ‘the beating heart of aviation.’ With Skywise, Airbus and big data pioneer Palantir Technologies bring together aviation data from multiple sources across the industry into one secure cloud-based platform. Skywise aims to reduce flight disruptions; decrease maintenance costs; transform flight, cabin and ground operations; and encourage faster decision-making.

Skywise also aims to support the aerospace industry’s digital transformation. Chamendra explains, ‘The industry has always been conservative yet bold when it comes to new technologies. Most new technologies arrive late, after maturing and being refined in other industries. Nevertheless, when it does appear, it makes a strong entrance causing big changes. It’s the same with Skywise and the move to digital aircraft and aviation big data. The aviation ecosystem is just making this transition now, and as it does, it’s requiring more and more digital skillsets.’

How does Chamendra’s work at Skywise compare to the Fly Your Ideas competition? ‘In some ways, it’s like Fly Your Ideas, in that most of the work that is done is in anticipation of future technology.’

He adds, ‘the competition has an element of marketing, where we had to keep the public informed of the project status. Whether it’s a future strategic project or an internal Airbus one, there’s always an element of keeping the right stakeholder informed and excited about the progress being made, and those are definitely skills that started outside of the technical university classroom and in public competitions like Fly Your Ideas.’

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Fly Your Ideas!

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on 8th March. To honour this day, we invited Fly Your Ideas participants to share with us the lessons they have learned from inspiring women about dreaming, risking, trying, failing and, ultimately, succeeding.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Almudena describes International Women’s Day as ‘‘an occasion to celebrate our successes and advances and a reminder that women’s rights are still not guaranteed in many countries and that we cannot stop campaigning until every corner of the world benefits from gender equality.’’

Luciana adds, ‘‘a day to remember that every day we should choose to reject gender-biased attitudes and instead believe in ourselves and our potential.’’

How do you plan to celebrate International Women’s Day this year?

Some of our participants will look for inspiration in the stories and achievements of successful women. Daniela plans to read about women who made history, while Julia hopes to reach out to a woman in the aerospace industry and ask her what it took to carve a career path.

Almudena finds empowerment in helping others to pursue their dreams. She plans to spend the day as usual, working on her lectures and encouraging her students (both male and female) to become great engineers. ‘‘I cannot think of a better way to contribute to our common future.’’

Luciana encourages us to push forward for change. ‘‘We should start by being bold, having difficult conversations around gender stereotyping and sharing our own experience to support and encourage others.’’

Of course, with just a few days to go until the Round 2 deadline, many Fly Your Ideas teams will spend the day working hard on their projects. Team Osprey told us that participating in the competition is ‘‘important as women in STEM to show the younger generation that engineering is for everyone.’’

Tell us about a woman who inspires you.

The inspiration for our teams? Pioneering women of the past and present. Both Juan Sebastián and Daniela name as their inspiration Marie Curie, who at the turn of the 20th century developed the theory of radioactivity and became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. Juan Sebastián describes Curie as ‘‘a revolutionary woman who literally gave her life to science, resulting in one of the best discoveries in human existence.’’ Her story encourages Daniela ‘‘to dedicate my life to science, to pursue a career dominated by men and to be great in it.’’

Our teams are also empowered by the success of leading women at Airbus. Ana Cristina Galucio, Chief of Staff at Airbus Defence and Space, is a local heroine for Team Flyby: ‘‘Born in a small northern Brazilian city, she overcame challenges and won battles in pursuit of a dream that made her one of the world’s greatest composites materials experts.’’ Sarath is inspired by Jaqueline Castle, Airbus A380 Chief Engineer, whose ‘‘strength and drive for her work’’ earned her a place amongst the Top 50 Influential Women in Engineering.

Almudena hopes to follow in the footsteps of Sally Ride, one of the first female astronauts, while Luciana names as her inspiration Constance Adams, the first Space Architect to work for NASA. Luciana explains, ‘‘when people tell you that you can’t do something, it’s motivation to prove them wrong by pursuing your dreams.’’

Reminding us that inspiration can always be found amongst our peers, Julia says, ‘‘I feel like women in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering and Mathematics) are always playing in the same team – they want other women to succeed and often their attitude screams: ‘I did it, so you can do it as well!’’’

We hope you enjoyed hearing our students’ thoughts on International Women’s Day. To find out more visit

With thanks to our contributors
Almudena, Team Learning to Fly
Daniela, Team Move-ez
David, Volney, Lêdson and Gleidson, Team Flyby
Juan Sebastián, Team Seneka
Julia, QRevolution
Luciana, Team AirPOOL
Natasha, Pia Maria and Kieran, Team Osprey
Sarath, Team Maverick

Upgrade your Round 2 project with our checklist for success


We launched our quest in June 2018 to offer students around the world the chance to innovate for the future of aerospace. Following months of hard work and bright ideas, 51 teams were selected in December to progress to the second round of the competition. With just one week to go until the Round 2 deadline, teams are adding the finishing touches to their submissions. Keep reading for our checklist for success.

The criteria

A team of dedicated Airbus Assessors will assess the ideas based on the below criteria. This should be used as guidance but the most important aspect to keep in mind is ensuring your project stands out from the crowd as a great innovative idea!


• Does the proposal answer the question for the Challenge?
• Does the summary explain the key features of the idea in a simple and concise way?


• Are the objectives / requirements well defined, and tracked?
• Are the tasks, the results and related achievements clearly described and with a structural plan?

Description & Prototype / Visualisation

• Have all resources been identified, e.g. people, test facilities, simulation effort?
• Do the visualisations within the report give a better understanding of the idea?
• Will the prototype / visualisation demonstrate that the idea will work?
• Does the proposal show clear innovative and / or creative elements?
• Does the team’s video correspond with the theme and content of their proposal?
• Does the video show that the team can present themselves with confidence?


• Has the team understood and explained further challenges in realising the idea?
• Does the proposal highlight any feedback collected or how feedback will be collected at a later stage
• Is the idea feasible or practical?
• Are the benefits well quantified and realistic? (Most important benefit to be highlighted)


• Does the proposal add value for the customer/company/industry?
• Does the idea answer to the real needs of the aerospace industry?

The guidelines

The written report

• No more than 2,000 words long
• PDF format
• Written in English
• Includes 1-5 visualisations – this may include sketches, diagrams, infographics and photos
• Reference your work using an internationally recognised referencing system

The video

• MP4 format with H.264 compression for video and AAC compression for audio.
• Maximum file size 400 MB
• Maximum length 2 minutes
• Any 3rd party footage, images or soundtracks are from royalty-free sources and comply with their terms and conditions of usage


The Team Leader should submit the project via the competition platform by 12:00 noon CET on Monday 11 March 2019.


Our destination is in sight: a spectacular live final at Airbus HQ, Toulouse! Airbus assessors will evaluate the Round 2 projects and select up to 6 teams to spend a week bringing their ideas to life at some of Airbus’ most cutting-edge innovation facilities. Results to be announced on 17th April! Until then, keep an eye on our social wall and join our vibrant Facebook community to stay updated on the latest Fly Your Ideas news.

Bring your ideas to life with video

Lights, camera, action! In the digital age, video is one of the most accessible and entertaining ways to learn, discover, and share your story with the world in an instant. This article will help you get started.

Learn from the experts

Take inspiration from Fly Your Ideas alumni! Visit our Facebook page as we look back on the highlights from the 2017 video competition. You can also gain insight from Airbus’ official YouTube channel. See how Airbus’ audio-visual, marketing and communications teams explain Airbus’ projects through video.

Tell your story

Create a storyboard to help you to visualise how the video will flow. Make sure to introduce yourself, your team and explain why your ideas is great. Fly Your Ideas is all about teamwork so ensure that all members get involved, perhaps explaining their individual contribution.

Set the scene

Good lighting will make a huge difference in the video quality. Use a tripod or set your camera on a sturdy surface. Record in landscape mode. This will make your footage look good on all devices.

Connect with your audience

Make eye contact, speak clearly and smile! Use calm, open body language. Consider how you want your video to play on the audience’s emotions – you may choose to incorporate humour or demonstrate compassion and empathy when discussing your idea.

Keep it simple

You only have two minutes, so be concise! Stick to your script. You may use subtitles to help the audience follow your key points. Use a simple, clean editing style without too many effects or transitions. This will make your video look professional.

Edit like a pro

Good video editing software can help you turn your raw footage into something great. Check out some of the Best Video Editing Software available for free. Ranked in the top three, Blender, Lightworks and Shotcut are all available on Windows, Mac and Linux.

With digital skills as the focus of this year’s competition, we hope these tips inspired you to bring your ideas to life through video. For Fly Your Ideas teams, this is your opportunity to explain in two minutes or less why YOU should be selected for Round 3! Our favourite videos will enter a public vote with a special prize for the winner.

Write a brilliant report with Fly Your Ideas!

With one month to go until the Round 2 deadline on the 11th March, our teams are working hard to develop their ideas! Whether you’re working on your #flyyourideas project or a university assignment, keep reading for our simple tips to writing a great report.

Plan ahead

Read carefully the Round 2 student brief to understand what to discuss within your report. Planning is essential – before you begin to write, think about the structure of your report and map out a list of key points to cover. A clear and logical structure will serve as the framework for your answer, helping you to address the questions.

Be succinct

Write clearly and concisely to help convey a powerful message. A good piece of advice is ‘don’t use a long word where a short word will do.’ Write with a formal style, limiting ‘I’ or ‘we’. Avoid the passive voice: use strong, direct language.

Make it visual

Bring your idea to life with 1-5 visualisations! A detailed illustration, a photograph of an initial prototype, an infographic, a flow diagram or a simple hand drawn sketch are all impactful ways to demonstrate how your concept will look and work. Assessors should be able to understand the idea by looking at the visualisations.


Set the report aside for a day or two, then read it again.  Make sure to print it out on paper before you read it.   This will help you to catch any errors. You can miss a lot of errors if you only read it on the screen. Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation. Pay attention to whether the report is easy to follow and whether your points are clear. We recommend asking a native English speaker to proofread your work – your university communications team may be able to help.

Using sources

Reference any parts of your work taken from other sources and ensure those sources are reputable and authoritative. Referencing also avoids any potential issues that could arise concerning plagiarism. You may choose to go the extra mile by collecting your own unique research; conducting interviews with relevant people or even approaching airports or airlines to support with data collection.

Stick to the guidelines

Is your report in PDF format? Is it no longer than 2,000 words? Is it in English? Have you followed the brief and answered all the questions, including the challenge question?

We hope these tips were helpful – good luck to all our Round 2 teams and our Fly Your Ideas community from around the world who are also working on report-writing projects. Keep an eye on the social wall for the latest updates from our teams!

Fly high with our tips for Round 2 triumph!

We hope our Round 2 teams are having a fun and productive Fly Your Ideas journey! The destination is now in sight, so read on for our top tips to put you on the flight path to Round 3.

Need motivation? Join our social media community

Our vibrant social media community will give you an instant motivational boost! See what the teams are posting on our social wall and get involved – you might even star on our official Facebook page. Some teams have even created special profiles to showcase their projects: Asporia, Move-EZ, Flyby, QRevolution, Brainblowers, Osprey and Aerovators!

Looking for inspiration? Think outside of the box

Be creative! An interesting example comes from 2017 finalists Team SkyVision who, after the competition, pre-sold their idea to two airlines and used the data collected to mature their business model. Go the extra mile to develop a project that is both innovative and useful.

Need advice? Ask the experts

There are many people here to support you during your Fly Your Ideas adventure. We encourage you to make regular contact with your Airbus Mentor for project management support. You can also ask for your questions to be forwarded to an Airbus Expert. Take advantage of their technical know-how! Here is an example of what can be accomplished by seeking the right support: Team Move-EZ recently met with an aircraft captain to know more about the challenges addressed by their idea and how it can improve air travel.

Want recognition? Shout about your success

Being selected for Round 2 is a huge achievement and we hope that sharing the exciting news with your university will encourage you to keep striving for success. Some universities are already sharing Fly Your Ideas success stories on social media. Team FlyBy’s university were one of the first to share the exciting news!

Feeling overwhelmed? Set goals, organise tasks

Plan your project by breaking down the components into smaller steps. Team Brainblowers show us how: set objectives and assign tasks to each member of the team. This will help you to manage your time and will ensure you are always ten steps ahead. Meet regularly to develop your idea and ensure everyone is focused on the end goal.

Have a question? Contact us

We hope you found these tips useful for your team. And don’t forget, we are always happy to help – there is no problem too big or too small! Email us at or message us on Facebook. We aim to reply within 24 hours.