ITE students win top prize in international aviation contest
A plane with a hybrid engine and an ejectable cabin built into a squid-shaped design has become a global winner for three Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students who envisioned it.
The trio from ITE College Central walked away with the top prize in the prototypes category of a world competition organised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
The team comprised Steven Muthukumar and Nicole Ng, both 17, and Mr Michael Cham, 57, who enrolled at the ITE last year to pursue his passion in product design after working 33 years in the retail sector.
Steven said: "We represent Singapore... We are a small country but we won globally so we are proud that we won."
Another 17-year-old student, Hwa Chong Institution's Lee Kern, took the top prize in the concepts category in the Asia-Pacific region. He designed a passenger drone that can connect to other drones and transport nodes.
The results of the inaugural Aviation Innovation Competition was announced last month in Canada.
The students got their awards yesterday from Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan at ITE College Central.
Mr Khaw said in a Facebook post: "(The students) impressed the judges with their amazing ideas for possible future aircraft type and how these can improve flights of the future.
"I hope they will remain interested in this sector and in due course join us... and help grow the Changi Air Hub."
The three ITE students titled their project Low Emission Aircraft, with their idea illustrated in a digital 3D model.
Steven and Nicole are first-year students in the aerospace technology course. They worked on the plane's design.
Steven said: "In aviation, the fuel is expensive, so I wanted to reduce the fuel consumption... If a car can have a hybrid engine, why not an aircraft?"
Nicole, who sketched the design, suggested an add-on in which the cabin and cockpit can be detached from the fuselage during an emergency.
Parachutes are attached to the top of the cabin. Inflatable tubes are installed at the bottom to cushion a landing.
Mr Cham, a second-year student in the product design course, helped create 3D models of the design.