The GoFly Prize, a $2+ million USD international competition sponsored by Boeing and Pratt & Whitney to create a personal flying device, has announced its Phase II winners today. Each winner will be awarded $50,000 USD and the opportunity to compete in a final Fly-Off next year.
The five teams, four of which were Phase I winners last June (pre-prototypes), are:
- Aeroxo LV (Latvia and Russia): ERA Aviabike, a tiltrotor flying bike with 16 ducted fans
- DragonAir Aviation (United States): Airboard 2.0, a self-stabilizing octocopter with a standing pilot
- Silverwing (Netherlands): S1, a winged flying motorcycle with two large ducted fans
- Texas A&M Harmony (United States): Aria, a compact coaxial dual-rotor (counterrotating) craft with a standing pilot
- Trek Aerospace Inc. (United States): FlyKart2, a recliner-seat, ten-rotor ducted-fan designed for low-cost manufacture and operation
Interestingly, the flying machines, all meant to carry a single passenger, are very different from each other. The teams, some quite small, others large groups, have all built flying prototypes, some full scale, some subscale. They were chosen from 31 finalist teams from 16 countries, themselves culled from over 800 teams from 100 countries which submitted written plans in Phase I of the competition.
New and improved technologies — composite materials, batteries, electric motors, computer-aided design, piloting, and navigation — are being used in experimental eVTOL (Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) aircraft, commonly associated with Urban Air Mobility (UAM), the air taxis coming in the next decade. The GoFly Prize focuses on single-passenger craft, ultralight VTOL flying machines.
In addition to Boeing and Pratt & Whitney, a number of aviation and innovation organizational sponsors have contributed expertise in engineering, safety, patents, robotics, piloting, financing, and so on.
Next year, a Final Fly-Off will see these teams — and perhaps further new entries to the competition, see our interview with GoFly CEO Gwen Lighter — flying their machines before jurors at a showcase, vying for $1.6 million USD in prizes.