South African student part of Airbus’ Fly Your Ideas finalist team

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A South African student is part of an Australian team selected by Airbus to compete in the third edition of the Fly Your Ideas challenge, Airbus has announced.

South African Martin Burston is studying overseas for a bachelors degree in Aerospace Engineering at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia. He is part of Team CLiMA whose members will now travel to France to present their ideas to a jury of Airbus and industry experts at Airbus’ headquarters in Toulouse on 12th June 2013. The winning team will receive a prize of €30 000 and the runners up €15 000. The other teams chosen for the final are from Brazil, India, Italy and Malaysia.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris on 14 June. UNESCO has given its patronage to the global competition which challenges students worldwide to develop innovative ideas for a more sustainable aviation industry for the future.

This year’s challenge saw more than 6 000 students from 82 countries register, with 618 teams submitting a proposal. The proposals had to cover one of six themes identified by Airbus as key 21st century challenges for a greener aviation industry.

Team CLiMA successfully passed through the eliminating rounds to get to the final with their proposal for the development of aircraft fuelled by a blend of sustainably produced liquefied biomethane and liquefied natural gas (Bio-LNG). Alongside the South African student are Canadian James Herringer, two Australians, Katherine Grigoriou and Mark Spiteri.

Charles Champion, Airbus’ Executive Vice President, Engineering and Fly Your Ideas Patron, said “the entries were assessed by experienced Airbus engineers who were extremely impressed by the quality of work and innovation. These talented students from around the world represent the future of our industry and I am looking forward to welcoming them to Toulouse for the final round.”

The five finalists are:

Australia – Team CLiMA, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, for the development of aircraft fuelled by a blend of sustainably produced liquefied biomethane and liquefied natural gas(Bio-LNG).

Brazil – Team Levar, University of São Paulo, for a luggage loading and unloading system for airplane cargo compartments to reduce the workload of airport baggage handlers with an air cushion solution inspired by air hockey tables.

India – Team AVAS, SRM University, for reduced propulsion noise thanks to jet exhaust shape modification using intelligent materials (shape memory alloys). These alloys are energized by harvested electricity generated by advanced thermoelectric materials using engine heat source.

Italy – Team Flybrid, Technical University of Milan, for an electric/turboprop combination for hybrid propulsion in regional aircraft. This system uses batteries pre-charged on ground and not in-flight.

Malaysia – Team Embarker, Universiti Putra Malaysia, for a self-sustaining aircraft cabin concept in which the excess body heat from seated passengers is used as an alternative source of energy to power small electronics in the cabin.



Throughout the competition, Airbus Mentors and Experts have worked with the teams to provide guidance and support with their projects in addition to a member of staff from their university, Airbus said. The teams are multinational and multicultural and the students are studying a wide range of subjects from mechanical and aerospace engineering to business and design.