| Universiti Putra Malaysia

Putra Space listed among Top 50 teams in ‘Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2017’

By Azman Zakaria 
Photo by Noor Azreen Awang

SERDANG, Feb 16 - Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)’s â€˜Putra Space’ team succeeded in reaching to the second round of ‘Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2017’  when it was listed among Top 50 out of 356 teams from 89 countries that entered the competition.

For this competition, ‘Putra Space’ has come out with an idea to improve efficiency and effectiveness of airlines operations for the comfort and safety of airline passengers by designing an automated cabin baggage delivery system for flight carry-on baggage.

Through this innovative idea, passengers only need to place their luggage in a special station installed near the entrance of the aircraft. This system will then automatically keep the luggage in a special storage space in the modified cargo area.

Passengers will be given a special tag featuring a bar code during check-in at the counter to facilitate collection of their baggage before disembarking.

According to a study, the cargo space of a passenger airline never exceeds 40% of its capacity since the past few years. Thus, the empty cargo space can be utilized to implement the proposed automatic storage of cabin baggage.

Putra Space comprises Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering students, Mohd Fazri Sedan and Muhammad Fais Haikal Mohd Isa; a graduate of the Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering, Tan Yi Han who is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree at the National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan; and Master of Science (Aerospace Engineering) student Hashafiqa Nur Zainal. The team is supervised by a senior lecturer of the Faculty of Engineering, Dr. Fairuz Izzuddin Romli.

Airbus' Fly Your Ideas is a biennial global competition, organized by Airbus in partnership with UNESCO, to challenge students to innovate for the future of sustainable aviation.

A total of 5,499 students from 89 countries that made up the 356 teams, registered  - to participate in the fifth edition of Airbus' Fly Your Ideas. The first round started in September 2016, with only 50 teams selected for the second round which began last January. However, only five teams will be selected for the final round in May.


Mohd Fazri, who is also Putra Space team leader, said their concept and idea were to make it easier and faster for passengers to embark without having to carry their baggage, standing on the aisle and placing their baggage in the luggage compartments hovering the passenger seats, thus obstructing other passengers.

He said the system will address difficulties faced by short passengers as they do not have to store their luggage in the compartments.

In the case of air turbulence, the baggage will not fall on the passengers as no large baggage is placed in the compartments above the passengers’ seats.

“We want passengers to feel comfortable and safe, and able to walk to their seat faster,” he said in an interview.

Dr. Fairuz, meanwhile, said what Putra Space actually did was continuing innovating a ‘capstone project’ which was proposed through a coursework under the subject of Aerospace Vehicle Designs which is taught by him.

He regarded the idea as exciting and promising and proposed that it be studied in details first before it was submitted for entry in the competition.

"Such a competition proves to be very rewarding to students as it will expose them to higher order thinking skills and boost their creativity, besides strengthening their soft skills, especially in terms of teamwork and communication. Furthermore, there are not that many aerospace-related competitions organized globally,” he said.

This is not the first time that teams from UPM have succeeded in entering the second round of Airbus' Fly Your Ideas. In 2013, a team under the supervision of Dr. Fairuz managed to advance to the final Top 5 which was held in Paris, France.

Nevertheless, UPM’s participation this time around is quite ‘unique’ due to challenges faced by ‘Putra Space’ team who finds it rather difficult to hold discussions due to the absence of Tan Yi Han who is pursuing his study in Taiwan.

Therefore, they resorted to using the social media to interact and discuss with her online.

"Yes, I am away from other group members and it is difficult to interact. So, we are using the social media to communicate. Despite all these, I will do my level best for the team,” she told a video conference during the interview.

The ‘Putra Space’ team also expressed their gratitude to the Department of Aerospace Engineering, UPM, and the Aerospace Society of Malaysia (AEROS Malaysia) for their support and assistance in making their entry into the competition, successful. – UPM