Two Metro Detroit brothers flying high after airport design competition

Meet two local brothers who displayed their engineering skills in a global design competition. Their work was inspiring and may have you looking at airports in a whole new way.

NORTHVILLE, Mich. – Two local brothers displayed their engineering skills in a global design competition.

Their work was inspiring and may have you looking at airports in a whole new way.

The Akinyemi brothers of Northville won high honors with their teams at the 2022 FAA airport design challenge. This was a global competition with over three thousand entries from eighteen countries.

“Setting goals and meeting goals was very important, and I saw them do that all through the eight-week competition. I’m really proud of that,” said the father of the two brothers, Dayo Akinyemi.

Ayo, the younger brother, and his team (team Aero) placed third at the K-6th grade level.

Iyi, the older brother, and his team (team Aireos from Northville High School) won first place for high school as freshmen.

“Seeing that we won was a real shock,” said Iyi.

So what did they do after winning and placing?

The brother picked up the video game Minecraft, which is fitting because the competition was all about designing the airport of the future using it.

Their mother was a coach on the elementary school team, and their father is an engineer. Their sons’ designs for a future Detroit Metro Airport and Grand Rapids Ford International Airport included new automated baggage systems, transparent solar panels, and even the notion of a spaceport at future airports for high-altitude flights and moon missions.

“I was just marveled. Things that you don’t really think are necessary or even thinking about,” said their father. “They’re able to come with those solutions themselves.”

Although they were on separate teams, the brothers inspired each other. Ayo saw the success of his brother Iyi, and that motivated him to work harder this year.

Both look forward to being future physicists and engineers themselves.


About the Author:

Andrew Humphrey is an Emmy Award winning meteorologist, and also an AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM). He has a BSE in Meteorology from the University of Michigan and an MS in Meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he wrote his thesis on "The Behavior of the Total Mass of the Atmosphere."