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$2 million offered for solution to 'personal flight'$2 million offered for solution to ‘personal flight’

The vision of personal flight for the masses has been out there for a long time, seemingly just beyond reach.

Photo by Mike Fizer.

Now there’s a pot of $2 million to motivate teams of innovators “from all walks of life” to make the dream a reality.

On Sept. 26, registration opened for the GoFly Prize competition, a two-year team contest “to leverage recent advances in propulsion, energy, light-weight materials, and control and stability systems to make the dream of personal flight a reality.”

The Boeing Co. is the grand sponsor of the competition, and said the competition aligns with its goals of “changing the world through aerospace innovation,” according to an announcement of the competition released during SAE International’s 2017 AeroTech Congress and Exhibition in Fort Worth, Texas. AOPA is a partner in support of the competition.

The competing teams are being challenged to “create a personal flying device that can be used by anyone, anywhere.”

Specifically, innovation incubator GoFly “is calling upon the world’s greatest thinkers, designers, engineers, inventors and builders to construct safe, ultra-compact, quiet, urban-compatible, personal flying devices capable of carrying a person 20 miles without refueling or recharging with vertical, or near vertical take-off and landing capability,” it said.

GoFly will help the competitors “by providing access to experienced Mentors and Masters in design, engineering, finance, law, and marketing.”

However, “the ultimate design and functionality of the device will be up to the imagination of the competitors.”

“There is perhaps no dream more universal than the dream of human flight. GoFly is going to make that dream a reality,” said GoFly CEO Gwen Lighter. “GoFly is a shift towards embracing innovative solutions to expand the desire to explore the unknown and push ourselves to new heights. Today we look to the sky and say ‘look at that plane fly,’ but two years from now we’ll look up and say ‘look at that person fly.’”

Registration for Phase I of the three-phase competition will remain open until April 4, 2018. Registration for Phase II will close on Dec. 8, 2018.

Prizes will be awarded in each of the three phases, with Phase I offering 10 prizes of $20,000 for written technical specifications on May 29, 2018.

In Phase II, there will be four $50,000 prizes awarded on March 28, 2019, to teams producing the best prototypes and revised Phase I materials.

In Phase III, the final fly-off competition, the $1 million Grand Prize will be awarded for the best overall score at the Final Fly-Off in October 2019. The scores will be calculated by a judging team from Boeing and other leading organizations, by measuring speed, noise, and size.

Additional prizes to be awarded during the final Fly-Off will include one $100,000 prize for “disruptive advancement of the state of the art aviation technology”; a $250,000 prize for the quietest compliant entry; and a $250,000 prize for the smallest compliant entry.

“The GoFly Prize competition aligns with our company’s goals of inspiring people across the globe and changing the world through aerospace innovation,” said Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop. “We’re excited to see how the visionaries of the future will take on this ambitious and exciting challenge.”

For more information about The GoFly Prize, or to sign up for the competition, please visit the competition's website.

Topics: Technology, Awards and Records

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