Organizers of the GoFly Prize program announced five winning teams in Phase II of the three-phase competition, which tasks entrants from around the world to design and build an ultra-compact, near-VTOL personal flying machine capable of flying 20 miles – safely carrying a single person. The personal flying device must also hold vertical or near vertical take-off and landing capabilities.
The two-year program, sponsored by Boeing and founded by Gwen Lighter, is to culminate with a Phase III final fly-off in which four prizes will be awarded, including: $250,000 for the quietest compliant device; $250,000 prize for the smallest compliant device; $100,000 Pratt & Whitney Disruptor Award; and the $1,000,000 Grand Prize.
The GoFly program initially received more than 3,500 entries from 101 countries for Phase I, which focused on technical-paper submissions and awarded $20,000 to 10 winners of this initial stage. For Phase II, 31 teams from 16 countries submitted entries for review by a panel of experts. These teams were required to submit visual and written documentation detailing their personal flyer prototypes, with physical prototypes being introduced for the first time.
In Phase II, GoFly explains the teams had the opportunity to learn from and work with some of the world’s leading experts in aircraft design, systems engineering, fabrication and testing, and finance and funding. The five winning teams of Phase II, each receiving a $50,000 prize, includes: Team Aeroxo for its ERA Aviabike device; Team Dragonair Aviation for its Airboard 2.0 device; Team Silverwing Personal Flight for its S1 device; Team Texas A&M Harmony for its Aria device; and Team Trek Aerospace for its FlyKart2 device.
GoFly provides the following details of each Phase II winning team, including images of each team’s innovations:
Team: DragonAir Aviation, United States
Device: Airboard 2.0
Description: Airboard 2.0 is an all-electric, heavy lifting, self-stabilizing, multi-copter that carries a single passenger in a standing position. Team captain Mariah Cain (project manager) is a trained hydroflight athlete and has a passion for all types of flight. She is not only the experimental pilot for this new device, but also the technician.
Team: Silverwing Personal Flight, Netherlands
Description: The SI is a canard-wing configuration around a person in motorcycle-like orientation powered by two electric motors with ducted rotors. The aircraft makes a 90-degree transition from vertical take-off to horizontal cruise flight. The passenger experiences exhilarating speed and freedom sitting in a racing position as the device autonomously transitions between take-off, horizontal flight and landing. The main features of the device are two electric ducted fans, a passenger shell for safety, and the landing gear and battery pack integrated into the wing.
Team: Texas A&M Harmony, United States
Description: The Aria is a high-TRL compact rotorcraft designed to minimize noise and maximize efficiency, safety, reliability, and flight experience. Team captain Dr. Moble Benedict is an assistant professor of aerospace engineering and founder of Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory (AVFL) with 15 years of experience in VTOL aircraft concepts. He was awarded the 2012 AIAA Young Engineer-Scientist Award, the 2016 AHS Bagnoud Award and won the $25K Grand Prize at the Lockheed Martin Innovate the Future Global Challenge.
Team: Trek Aerospace FK2, United States
Device: FlyKart 2 Description: The FlyKart2 is an electric, single-seat, multi-rotor, ducted-fan, VTOL aircraft designed to be inexpensive to build, own, and operate. Team captain Robert Bulaga is the president and CTO of Trek Aerospace. Bulaga is an expert in ducted propeller technology and currently works with a number of companies on integrating this technology into their platforms.
Team: Aeroxo, Latvia and Russia
Device: ERA Aviabike
Description: The ERA Aviabike is a tilt-rotor aerial vehicle type that combines the VTOL capabilities of a helicopter with the range and speed of fixed-wing aircraft. ERA Aviabike is described by the team as a flying bike. Team captain Vladimir Spinko is Aeroxo’s chief operating officer, with multi-year experience in technology, venture capital, and unmanned aerial vehicles.