Taking flight

January 31, 2023


Oaklyn Hill

The proposal to implement Hill’s Maglev-based invention. Embedding it in the runway so the platform is level with the ground makes it easier for the plane to mount.

Planes are great; their emissions, not so much. Some students have dedicated days, or even years, to combatting this situation.

Oaklyn Hill, senior, filed a provisional patent their freshman year on a project they’d been thinking of since late elementary school. “I started learning about how absolutely garbage travel is for the planet, and so I’ve been trying to find a way to make air travel less harmful,” says Hill. They travel a lot with their family, so they’ve seen the negative contributions of air travel firsthand.

Hill’s invention involves using Maglev (magnetic levitation) technologies for launching planes. “Maglev can get to the necessary speed to launch a commercial Boeing 747,” adds Hill. By using Maglev technologies, sustainability is increased when commercial planes take off.

In the future, Hill is “definitely going towards climate geared innovation, especially in traveling globalization.” Since they are “big on cross disciplinary stuff,” they know “just looking at electromagnetic stuff isn’t going to fix all the world’s problems.” Hill hasn’t not decided which specific topic they want to pursue in higher education.

On the other hand, some students are just beginning their inventing journey!

Aarush Palve, freshman, is currently working on a “small-scale plasma/ionic thruster that works by increasing the intensity of microwave radiation to ionize air molecules and then vectoring them away from the apparatus to generate thrust.” 

His inspiration was to solve the issue of the “emissions generated by the aircraft industry. Since ionic emissions are generated by the aircraft industry.” On a large scale, Palve is particularly interested in combatting “rising global temperatures and the overall effects of global warming,” which stem from these emissions.

Palve plans to “find a job that makes a ‘bunch of money’” to fuel his dreams. He plans to pursue an education in STEM, and considers ISEF the best place to test his interests. “I also just like making things,” he added. 

As students continue to pursue their passions, they know that the sky is… well, even the sky isn’t really a limit.