The student team from Brazil won the Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2013 — a competition aimed at helping students give shape to their ideas.

It is often difficult for students to get a practical understanding of the industry during their studies. But what if they had the opportunity to go a step beyond their assignments? The Airbus Fly Your Ideas (FYI) 2013 competition, supported by UNESCO, did just that — by providing students with a platform for making the aviation industry more sustainable with innovative ideas.

The Airbus FYI is a biennial competition that encourages students around the world to formulate ideas for making the aviation industry eco-efficient. “The aim of the competition is to stimulate students’ interest in science and technology, and engineering. It would be useful to them for understanding the needs of the aviation sector,” said Rachel Schroeder, Head of employment marketing Airbus.

Airbus has formal tie-ups with universities for pursuing research in engineering. The aircraft entity annually spends €2 billion on research. Vicky Runcie, FYI 2013 Project Leader, said in context of the competition, “Our interaction with the students has helped us in forging informal links with universities.” The teams were mentored by Airbus representatives through the final stages of the competition.

Go Brazil

Students of Team Levar, studying design at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, bagged the first prize of €30,000 for their concept of reducing workload for the airport baggage handlers with an air-cushion-based system inspired by air hockey tables.

During their presentation at the A380 Final Assembly Line in Toulouse, the team members said that they empathised with the baggage handlers for the physical strain they underwent during the luggage loading and unloading process from the airplane cargo compartments. This, they said, urged them to work upon a solution for reducing the strain and avoiding injury to the staff.

Charles Champion, Executive Vice President, Engineering at Airbus and FYI 2013 patron, said, “The team approached the competition from a different perspective by taking into account ground operations, and not limiting their ideas to the aircraft.”

Team Levar’s win is significant because a majority of participants in the competition hail from technical backgrounds, whereas only 20 per cent of the participants have non-technical qualifications.

Team CLiMA from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia, were the runners-up. They received a sum of €15,000 for their proposal to develop aircraft fuelled by a blend of sustainably produced liquefied biomethane and liquefied natural gas.

Other teams shortlisted for the finals include Team Embarker, Universiti Putra Malaysia; Team Flybrid, Technical University of Milan, Italy; and Team AVAS, SRM University, India.

The prize ceremony was held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

The writer was in Toulouse and Paris at the invitation of Airbus.