Faculty in Focus - FSE
Founder: Mariya Tarabanovska
Aerospace engineer Mariya Tarabanovska is on a mission to showcase, explain and champion the world of future flight.
Her not-for-profit company Flight Crowd grew out of a passion to revolutionise transportation of tomorrow.
Flight Crowd supports the future flight industry - both its customers and its workforce – by bringing the experts and the general public together, educating the community about the world of air mobility and empowering individuals to get involved in transforming the industry.
It also flies the flag for this emerging sector of sustainable quiet electric aviation which will introduce a new way to transport people or cargo, convey blood and organs, firefight and police from the air, as well as transfer passengers.
Flight Crowd conducts small to large scale community engagement and outreach and organises workshops, webinars, career talks, bootcamps and school visits to support the global future flight industry.
The team behind Flight Crowd are working on a variety of resources designed to help the public get familiar with electric aviation. Together with their industry partners, the company is developing an Urban Air Mobility Glossary, which explains different future flight terms such as Electric Vertical Take Off and Landing aircraft (eVTOL).
The Flight Crowd website also hosts a range of other initiatives which will help parents, teachers and students get creative designing their vision of green future of aviation.
“Currently this industry is being led by the engineers and the technologists working in isolation, in places where people can’t see it and don’t really have a say in what the future will look like,” explained Mariya.
“That’s why I’ve created Flight Crowd - to make sure that gap between the industry and the general public is being bridged. We’re all about piercing the industry bubble of working in isolation. We want to inform, engage and inspire the public to look into future flight and get them as excited about what’s coming as we are.
“We don’t want another transportation system that only suits the healthy and wealthy – I’m not interested in that. We want to include all those young voices, people with different abilities and of different backgrounds and to empower them to shape the future of aviation.”
Mariya got fired up about fossil fuel-free flight during her degree in MEng. Aerospace Engineering with Industrial Placement at The University of Manchester’s Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering.
Flight Crowd was already a year old when a lecturer told Mariya about MEC.
“MEC helped me to go through the vision that I set for Flight Crowd and realise that I’m not aiming high enough and I can do better,” said Mariya.
“I finally started thinking not just about how passionate I was about Flight Crowd and air mobility but rather that I’m a founder of a business. I have a team of people who are reliant on me – I need to make this sustainable.
“I stopped living in the present, and taking it day by day, and started envisaging what we need to do today for Flight Crowd to still be around tomorrow.
“I started being even more hungry about making sure that Flight Crowd survives and thrives in the future. The biggest takeaway from MEC was me thinking commercially and having my ideas challenged.”
Her enterprise journey with MEC culminated in Flight Crowd winning third place in the 2022 Venture Further Business Start-up Competition (Social Category).
Venture Further is the flagship annual start-up competition for all current students, researchers and recent graduates across The University of Manchester. The competition opens up a world of support programmes, workshops, mentors and networks to nurture and grow ideas.
With the £2,000 prize money Mariya was able to exhibit at several airshows, including the industry-leading Farnborough International Airshow, recruit volunteers and produce activity books and marketing materials.
Equally as valuable as the cash were the one-to-one sessions, with business and finance professionals, organised by MEC.
It made me really think about my entrepreneurial journey so far, face my fears and be super open and honest with myself about my strengths and weaknesses as a leader. I’m still going through the advice and reflecting on it. It’s been an incredible experience.Mariya Tarabanovska / Founder, Flight Crowd
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