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Meet the Fly Your Ideas alumni working towards zero-emission flight

Nov 21, 2019
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2019 finalists Kieran Duncan and Pia Maria Sælen have founded a start-up!

We first met them as Team Osprey: ambitious Master’s students from the University of Strathclyde, UK. During the Fly Your Ideas competition, they developed a cooling system for electric motors integrated within the body of the motor itself. Now, Kieran and Pia have created a start-up, Mako Aerospace.

Their vision? Compelling air transport that inspires and excites while achieving balance with the environment. To this end, Kieran and Pia are working on creating efficient propulsion systems to enable electric aircraft start-ups – their primary market – to decrease their energy requirements and increase flight yield.

Kieran says, ‘The most important thing we’re working on right now is a sub-scale demonstrator of our first propulsion system. We’ll use this to prove the performance of the system and show a real-life example that electric propulsion can be compelling.’

The team credit their Airbus Fly Your Ideas Mentor, Luke Spiteri, with helping them to hone their project management skills. Kieran recalls, ‘On the first day of the week in Toulouse, we were a little overwhelmed by everything and we were frantically trying to get our bearings. Luke was very quiet over in the corner and when he stepped aside he had created a template checklist for us to get organised and focus on the project. Luke set the example of how we should lead ourselves and see through the fog that accompanies the pressure behind big projects.’

The future looks exciting for Mako Aerospace. They have just announced a collaboration with Ampaire to build the world’s first all-electric boundary layer ingestion flight demonstrator. The project will generate a fully operational propulsion system for subsequent ground and flight testing. For Kieran and Pia, this entails the construction of a 50kW class technology demonstrator.

Kieran says, ‘The vision for Mako Aerospace in the next five years is the full-scale production of flight certified propulsion systems. We’re confident we can put flight time on our demonstrator in the next 18 months which will open the route for rapid scale-up, certification and on to commercial flight.’

He adds, ‘Climate change won’t wait. The faster we can enable electric aircraft, the better for our planet.’

Find out more: https://www.mako-aerospace.com/

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