Calgary brothers win Airbus design competition

Quinnten and Ellisten Iversen from Calgary won an aircraft design contest and their prize included flights to see the assembly line and an air show in France. Courtesy / Airbus

Calgary brothers Quinnten and Ellisten Iversen’s love of aviation inspired them to create the winning design for the new Airbus 350F cargo plane.

Sixteen-year-old Quinnten read an article about Airbus accepting design submissions for the A350F aircraft Livery contest, and they pitched a freight box.

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“Suddenly the idea of a packaging box clicked with me as it’s a freighter aircraft,” said Quinnten Iversen.

Twelve-year-old Ellisten Iversen said he was eager to combine humor with professionalism to get a beautiful decal design. After getting the stamp of approval from mom and dad, they sent their designs to Airbus.

To surprise the brothers, their parents told them they had dentist appointments, but instead, they got a call from Airbus.

“I was over the moon about the opportunity,” said Ellisten Iversen.

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The contest rules stated there would only be one winner, but a jury selected the Iversen brothers and John Feehan from Dublin, Ireland, because they had similar submissions. Their cardboard freight box concepts beat out more than 4,000 other entries.

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The Iversen brothers’ original design. Courtesy / Airbus
John Feehan’s original design. Courtesy / Airbus

“It contains a QR code, our names, some information about the aircraft in the barcode and that was something that was featured quite prominently on our design, along with the colour palette in general. The beige cardboard box and elements like the tape were taken from John’s design,” said Quinnten.

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The final A350F livery design. Courtesy / Airbus

Airbus gifted the winners with two separate round trips to France. The first trip was the Paris Air Show, Le Bourget 2023 which is running from Jun 18-25. This prize included tickets to enter the air show, return flights and accommodation in Paris. The brothers and Feehan will also receive a mock-up model of the A350F with their design.

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“It was amazing to tour the whole place, as an aviation geek it’s one of the biggest events in the industry and we both have wanted to go for a long time,” said Ellisten.

They were also invited to the A350 Airbus Final Assembly line to see the first flight of the A350F aircraft in Blagnac, France. This includes round-trip flights to Toulouse-Blagnac airport and accommodations.

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The design is now being manufactured, and Airbus says production is underway at their plants. The first parts of the centre wing box have already been assembled in Nantes, France, and the centre fuselage will be assembled and equipped next.

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“I think it’s going to be incredible to look up and see something that I know I played a role in designing, and Airbus revealed they will put our names on the aircraft in the packing label,” said Quinnten.

The final livery design has just been revealed at a special ceremony at the Paris Air Show. Courtesy / Airbus

Airbus says the A350F has been designed to reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions by up to 40 per cent compared to freighters currently flying.

Airbus expects to have the first A350F aircraft painted by the end of 2024 and it embarks on its first flight in 2025. When it enters service in 2026, the A350F will be able to carry a payload of up to 111 tonnes over a range of 4,550 nautical miles.

The Iversen brothers say this experience with Airbus has propelled them to get into the industry and they plan to pursue careers as commercial pilots or in aviation marketing.

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