Fly Your Ideas: planting a new product
There was a great deal of interest in their innovative and eco-efficient idea of using the castor plant to produce a bio-composite material that could be used to make cabin furnishings and the three basked in the media spotlight for the day.
The Fly Your Ideas competition sought out ideas to help shape the future of aviation in a greener, cleaner direction, as well as looking to attract talented young people to the industry and over 2,300 students applied.
Head of engineering Patrick Gavin, a member of the jury and patron of the competition explained that what had impressed the jury most was the team’s innovative idea and the way that they had conducted their analysis – manufacturing and testing the composite and presenting it as a real and credible solution.
He added that it had been very difficult to choose a winner: “Airbus was very impressed by the quality and professionalism of all the teams, we had not expected such a high standard and everybody did a great job,” he said.
The winning team, who received a cheque for 30,000 euros, may all be studying in Australia but they originally come from Switzerland, Germany and Hong Kong.
Team leader, mechanical engineering PhD student Michael Heitzmann who is specialising composites, said that it was great that a company like Airbus had been so receptive to this kind of idea, which is still some way from being proven.
“I had not thought of aviation as a career but this experience has really inspired me to consider it for my future,” he explained.
Alex Ng, who is also doing a PhD in mechanical engineering added that Airbus has already registered the patent for their idea, “and we are the inventors!” while the third team member Benjamin Lindenberger who is studying aerospace engineering said that this really was a “once in a lifetime experience” for them all.