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Airbus’ Fly Your Ideas Competition Inspiring Young Minds

Fly your ideasThis is not the first time that I have written about the Fly Your Ideas competition put on by Airbus, but I feel that it bears repeating as many times as they put forward such an inspiring competition.

We live in a world where innovation is happening at all times, and some of the greatest innovators are young people.  With any luck, one of these ideas may be the next disruptive technology in aviation.

In Round 1, during which teams submit their ideas, Airbus will continue accepting registrations until 1 December.

You can take a look at previous entries in some of my previous posts, including a winner or two.  Suffice it to say that I am a huge supporter of any innovation, especially ones that are inspired by young minds that will carry us into the future.

Fly Your Ideas Competition Finalists

Airbus Changing the Future of Aviation

Full contest information can be found at:

Here are images of the finalists from the last competition:

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November 13, 2014 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Changing the Stereotypes of Aviation

Stereotypes are the simple reality of life.  While they often have a negative connotation, that is not necessarily the case.  There are good and bad stereotypes and there is also a certain level of truth to all stereotypes whether they are positive or not.

One of the biggest things that is killing the aviation industry as a whole are the stereotypes that many people associate with the world of flying.  One of the most common stereotypes that gets talked about regularly is that you have to be a rich person to fly on anything other than an airliner.  While money can be restrictive to the aspiring aviator, there are some great references out there, most notably to me being Brent Owens, the Fixed Wing Buddha, for ways to fly as inexpensively as possible.

Personally, I think there are two much bigger stereotypes that we must change if we want to see a resurgence in the industry.

The first is that aviation is only for boys.  While there was a time that women in aviation were either flight attendants or travel agents, that just isn’t the case anymore.  I am well aware of the fact that there are substantially more men in aviation than women, but there are some serious powerhouses out there that are doing their part to change that.

One of the biggest voices, and more important examples, is Karlene Petitt.  I don’t have the space to list all of her accolades, but the short list includes being type rated in just about any aircraft that starts with B7xx, incredible author (you should check out her books), grandma, and just because she had too much spare time, doctoral student.  We need more incredible women like this that have not only made it to the top of the industry, but are actively promoting it.

We also need more of the major players in the industry to actively pursue and encourage women like Airbus recently did with their “Girls for the Future of Aeronautics” event at their Toulouse factory.  Not only do events like this actively encourage women to pursue careers in aviation, it shows them how many different careers there are in aviation which is the second major stereotype that we must change.

Tell someone that you work in aviation, and 99 times out of 100 their next question will be, “Are you a pilot?”  Not that there is anything wrong with that, I am trying to become a pilot myself, but pilots make up only a small percentage of the world of aviation.  Even in the Air Force there are tons of jobs that are not done by pilots.

There are lots of different jobs with airlines which are relatively well-known, but there are also tons of opportunities at FBOs that are relatively easily attained.  There are tons of jobs at airports that get entirely overlooked by the vast majority of the flying public.  There are jobs for aeronautical engineers, mechanical engineers, public relations, social media, and even a few jobs left for navigators.  However, we are a dying breed, which really just makes us more special.

The point I am trying to make is that aviation used to be an exciting environment that attracted the best of the best and that almost everyone dreamed about in some way, but somewhere along the way aviation lost some of that appeal.  We need to start attracting those people who don’t want to be pilots but would love to work around airplanes.

There is a growing community of avgeeks brought together by the wonder of social media, but these people would work in aviation for free.  We need to find the closet avgeeks and bring them into the fold where their passion can infect others and bring aviation into the next generation.

We are on the precipice of a major change in aviation, I can just feel it.  We really just need each member of the aviation community to bring along a friend and the industry will be changed forever.  Who knows, that friend you bring along may be the next Wright, Earhart, Lindbergh, or Armstrong.  Or they may just be a guy with a PPL and a Piper Cub, either way we will be one step closer to changing the stereotypes that are holding us back from incredible growth.

October 19, 2014 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Asia-Pacific Region to Lead the Way in Aircraft Marketplace Future

The Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing region in the world when it comes to aviation.  Considering that it contains about half of the world’s population that is likely not much of a surprise to anyone.  Airbus recently released a statement outlining what their projections are for the next 20 years, and the numbers are somewhat staggering.

Airbus estimates 10,000 new aircraft including 3,800 widebodies over the next 20 years.  Those are just incredible numbers, that quite simply blow me away.  Airbus and Boeing will clearly be the major players in these markets, but with that many aircraft to be built and sold other companies will likely fill in the gaps.

The above statement talked a lot about larger aircraft, but as time progresses and the region matures I think the regional type aircraft will become increasingly important.  Much the way the regional carriers have become essential parts of air service in the US, these will become essential to really ingraining flying into the culture of these rapidly developing countries.

I recently saw a comment saying that the aviation industry was being attacked by China and India, but I completely disagree.  I think it is awesome for the industry that these countries are becoming larger players.  There is just so much potential and opportunity there that to think that it could possibly be a bad thing makes no sense to me.  We should all want the industry to grow and develop.

The US has long been the world leader in aviation, and will remain such for the foreseeable future.  That being said, we need to embrace that role, and do our part to improve aviation globally.  We need to be the leader in new ATC technology.  We need to not get so bogged down in regulations and red tape that we lose the wonder that has always made aviation so amazing.  We need to bring the wonder of flight to as many people as we possibly can.

I am curious what other people think about the aviation boom in the Asia-Pacific Region.  What do you see as the benefits of this growth?  What are some of the challenges or difficulties that it will present?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

February 25, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

NextGen ATC: Creating Highways in the Sky

I have been a big fan of NextGen ever since I first heard about it a decade ago.  It just makes sense that creating more efficient routes would be good for business.  It saves time and money and is better for the environment.

It may not be quite as easy for those that are not familiar with aviation to understand the value of this new technology, but Steve Fulton of GE Aviation wrote a great piece that describes NextGen as creating “highways in the sky”.

It is really so simple that I can’t believe I haven’t seen the comparison before.  By streamlining the system it is unreal the amount of time, money, and fuel that can be saved.  According to Steve’s article, deploying these new routes at 46 regional airports across the country would result in the following savings: 12.9 million gallons of fuel, $65.6 million, 274.6 million pounds of CO2 emissions, and 747 days of time.

If those numbers don’t open your eyes to the value of the system, I don’t know what will.  Keep in mind, that is only at 46 airports, not including any of the major ones, and they are the ones that could use improved systems more than anyone else.

As we move forward with the implementation of NextGen and companies start to realize all of these savings, I hope it works to expedite the process even more.  They always say that money talks, and there is no industry where that is more true these days than in aviation.

July 18, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Airport Operations Is a Lot More Than Just Getting People On and Off Planes

In order to fulfill my insatiable desire to learn more about aviation I read numerous blogs, articles, and press releases everyday.  You can find a list of some of my favorites on the right side of this page.  If you have any other recommendations I would be happy to add them to my list.

One of my favorite reads is The Airline Reporter.  David Parker Brown is the author and he provides a nice diverse offering of articles, pictures, videos, and interviews.  He recently did an interview with Brandi Bell, an Airport Superintendent of Operations at LAX.

The article provides a really great look at airport operations, and their complex nature.  It is one of those things that gets completely overlooked by most people.  We all see TSA, and the gate attendants, flight attendants, and pilots for the airlines, but that barely scratched the surface of the people involved in keeping air travel safe, effective and efficient.

I took a personal interest in the story because Brandi is doing exactly what I want to do someday.  She started out in the Air Force and has made the transition to civilian airport operations.  For those of you that may not realize how much airport operations entail I would definitely take a look at the interview.

Reading this interview also got me thinking about the future of aviation in the sense of the people who will be running it in the future.  I know a handful of very bright, young people in aviation and I couldn’t help but wonder what their thoughts are on the current state, and future, of aviation.

In the coming weeks I will be posting interviews that I conduct with them.  I would love to get your feedback on what they have to say.  Also, if you are another one of those bright, young people in aviation that will be leading us into the future please leave a comment, or send me an email and I will add your thoughts to those that I have already collected.

April 2, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Airbus Inviting Students to Change the Future of Aviation

Innovation can come from anywhere, and oftentimes the best ideas come from some of the least likely sources.  Airbus is embracing this concept by inviting students from around the world  to participate in their Fly Your Ideas Challenge(FYI 2013).  The contest, which is held every two years, asks students to develop ideas for an eco-efficient aviation industry for the top prize of €30,000 with the runners-up receiving €15,000.

This is an awesome competition, because it encourages entries from anywhere, not just aviation.  According to Charles Champion, Executive Vice President Engineering at Airbus and FYI 2013 patron, “Some solutions will require thinking out of the box.  At Airbus we work in a world of unobtainiums, solutions for seemingly impossible challenges that shape the way we live – like those that made air travel a reality.”

Aviation has always benefited from the ingenuity from all types of people.  In case you forgot, the Wright Brothers owned a bike shop before they transformed transportation.  For all we know the next great idea in aviation could come from an engineer, a scientist, or maybe a marketing major.

There is only one real certainty in the future, and that is that we have absolutely no idea what it will hold.  That being said, there are few things that excite me more than thinking about what the future may hold, and how we have no idea what amazing things will inevitably develop.  Aviation is the industry that made people dream about reaching the skies and ultimately the stars, and I hope competitions like this bring that fantasy back to an aviation industry that has become somewhat stagnant and businesslike.

March 20, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.