Aerospace engineering students from RMIT University are flying the green and gold in the 2017 Airbus Fly Your Ideas competition - the only Australian teams left in the global aviation innovation hunt.
During the Australian International Airshow 2017 at Avalon this week, the three teams will work in groups to create innovative solutions to key challenges affecting the aviation industry.
Dr Graham Dorrington, from RMIT’s School of Engineering, is supervising two of the teams this year and said their achievements so far were impressive.
“From more than 350 teams, only 50 remain in the competition after Round 1,” he said.
“All the other entries from Australia were knocked out, but RMIT has three teams still in the running and the most number of teams in Round 2 – a shared achievement with the University of Hong Kong.”
Charles Champion, Airbus Executive Vice-President Engineering, said there was company-wide engagement of Airbus employees who support the competition, either as assessors, mentors or experts.
“We are offering students the rare opportunity to interact directly with senior specialists from across the business,” Champion said.
“In turn, these experts will benefit from their direct interaction with talents from across the globe, all sharing the same passion for this exciting industry.”
Dorrington said that RMIT has long recognised the importance of external competitions and staff and students are strongly encouraged to get involved.
“It’s important that we have flexibility in the curriculum to encourage student involvement in international competitions,” he said.
“This competition is a valuable opportunity for students to brush up on their team-work skills while they work to tight deadlines and communicate their ideas to a broader audience.”
The three teams – Aquarius, FEAT and Thrust – each have their own concept to focus on, including aerial fire fighting and optimising overhead baggage lockers.
Aerospace Engineering student Laila Sezin is on team FEAT (Flexible and Extendable Aerobridge Technology) supervised by Professor Cees Bil and said the group had studied passenger congestion issues during boarding and disembarking at Melbourne Airport.
“Our rear aerobridge concept enables access to a rear door of the aircraft that will significantly reduce the turnaround time for short- and medium-haul flights,” she said.
Sezin said if her team did manage to secure the €30,000 first prize, the money would go towards refining the technology with a view to implementing the concept at Tullamarine Airport.
“I’d love to go to go to the airport one day and say I helped to make that happen.”
Story: Rebecca McGillivray