‘Inspiring’ schoolgirls triumph in easyJet contest
The winning entries in easyJet’s ‘Aircraft of the Future’ competition were revealed at the conclusion of the COP26 conference in Glasgow.
The low-cost airline launched the competition in October, challenging the next generations of engineers to design their vision for future flying powered by a sustainable energy source.
Entries included designs inspired by solar-powered wings to more unconventional energy sources like hamster-wheel and worm-powered planes, Designs also featured a selection of sustainably sourced materials including seats made from coconuts, one of the thickest and most resistant natural fibres available.
Schoolgirls Cerys Armstrong, aged eight, of Norfolk, and 15-year-old Lara Wong, of Surrey, submitted the winning entries judged by an esteemed panel of world-class experts in flying, sustainability, design and zero emission technology.
Cerys’ winning design centred on battery power, with solar-powered wings and reusable cups for passengers made of processed banana leaves. Whilst Lara’s design looked at using pressurised hydrogen and fuel-cell stacks to generate electricity to power their passenger aircraft of the future.
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First Officer Debbie Thomas, of easyJet, who was on the judging panel, who is also an engineer and zero-emission aircraft modeller, said: “We had some amazing entries and were stunned and incredibly encouraged by the innovation we saw. Cerys and Lara have inspired us all with their winning designs – we’d love to see them join easyJet as engineers one day, working on zero-emission aircraft of the future.”
Championing the development of a zero-emission aircraft to de-carbonise aviation has long been a focus for easyJet and the airline is working with its partners Airbus and Wright Electric to accelerate the development of zero-emission technologies.
The airline is optimistic that it could begin flying customers on planes powered by hydrogen-combustion, hydrogen-electric or a hybrid of both by the mid to late-2030s.
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