GoFly Prize

Design and build a safe, quiet, ultra-compact, near-VTOL personal flying device capable of flying 20 miles while carrying a single person.
The $1million GoFly Grand Prize is still available. Please email info@goflyprize.com for more information and details on how to participate.

Challenge Overview


Remember when you were a child and wanted to fly?

We are going to make that dream a reality. We challenge you to make people fly.

The GoFly Prize is offering a $1,000,000 Grand Prize to create a personal flying device that is safe, useful, and thrilling.

The goal of the GoFly Prize is to foster the development of safe, quiet, ultra-compact, near-VTOL personal flying devices capable of flying twenty miles while carrying a single person.

What we are seeking is an “everyone” personal flying device, capable of being flown by ANYONE, ANYWHERE. It should be a device for ALL: young and old, city-dweller and country-dweller, expert and novice.

Now is the time. Recent advances in propulsion, energy, light-weight materials, and control and stability systems have combined to produce a moment of achievable innovation. What can be accomplished today could not have been attained even a few years ago. Technological and scientific advances have resulted in a time when our most audacious dream—the dream of pure human flight—is now achievable.

GoFly is about flying people, not flying taxis. Today we look to the sky and say “that plane is flying.” We challenge you to create a device where we look to the sky and say, “that person is flying.” The device is for a single person, but what it looks like or how it works is up to you. We welcome revolutionary design, and while all devices must be able to fly a person, you have the option to use a mannequin to simulate the user and can operate the device as a remotely piloted or autonomous UAV. The device should function safely in both crowded cities and rural areas; it should be lightweight and maneuverable enough so that anyone can move it around, and it should be quiet not only for the user, but also for the general public. We are propulsion agnostic, but like all great inventions, the device should be user-friendly--almost an extension of the user’s body, and provide the thrill of flight.

The GoFly Prize is designed to capture our imagination. Indeed, throughout human history, perhaps no dream has been more shared than that of soaring in the skies. It has been pursued by the greatest minds from every corner of the world. It captivated the thoughts of Leonardo Da Vinci, culminating in his ornithopter.  It consumed the thoughts of Wendell Moore and his Bell Labs team, resulting in the first “jet pack.” It charmed an entire generation of children as they followed the chronicles of Superman.

Our goal is the same as Da Vinci’s and children of wonder throughout the ages: Make people fly – safely and effortlessly.

Ready… set… GoFly.



The GoFly Prize Competition will award a $1,000,000 Grand Prize and additional early round prize money over three phases.

Prizes will be awarded for each phase of the Competition as follows:

Phase I                   

  • Up to ten $20,000 prizes awarded based on a written report.

Phase II                  

  • Up to five $50,000 prizes awarded based on revised Phase I material (or for new teams new Phase II material) and demonstrated performance of progress to date.

Phase III                    

  • One $1,000,000 Grand Prize awarded for the best overall fly-off score.
  • One $100,000 prize, the Pratt & Whitney Disruptor Prize, awarded for disruptive advancement of the state of the art.

A complete set of Technical Rules can be found here



Teams will keep all of their intellectual property, except that Teams will grant limited media rights to GoFly so that GoFly can publicize and promote the Competition and the Teams.  The details relating to media rights are addressed in the Phase I Competition Agreement and the Media Rights Agreement.  Other than these media rights, any rights a Team has in its inventions, drawings, patents, designs, copyrights and other intellectual property remain with the Team.   

The prize submission information that Teams provide to GoFly as part of the Competition will only be shared with the Judging Panel and representatives of GoFly who are involved in administering the Competition.  Anyone who has access to a Team’s confidential prize submission information will have signed a confidentiality agreement and agreed not to share or use such confidential information, except as may be required by law.  In addition, Teams will not have access to any nonpublic information about other Teams or their technology or performance during the Competition.



Even the best and brightest minds can use a little help sometimes.  GoFly empowers innovator teams by providing access to experienced Mentors and Masters in design, engineering, finance, law, and marketing. Teams will have the opportunity to listen to and engage in discussions with the Masters of Aerospace and Business in global webinars. Have a couple of questions on conceptual design or configuration management? Looking for insight into cutting edge noise mitigation techniques? Trying to raise funding to support your build? Masters lectures speak to those disciplines and more. Learn from FAA leads, NASA gurus, Boeing Senior Technical Fellows, and the luminaries who actually wrote the textbooks. Hear about the aerospace fundraising landscape, and take a deep dive into financing decks and pitching VCs. Learn how to protect your intellectual property from patent specialists. A list of Masters along with their bios can be found in the Advisors section.

When one-on-one help is needed, all Teams will have access to our Mentor program, where Teams work directly with Mentors in their specific areas of need. Operationally, the Mentor program is organized so that Teams contact GoFly to request a Mentor within a particular discipline. Upon contact, that Team will be matched with a Mentor (or multiple mentors) in that area. During these Mentor sessions, a Team works directly with the Mentor to answer the Team’s specific questions related to their technical build (or financing, or corporate documents, etc.).  This is one-on-one support for the Teams, geared to the precise needs of each Team. GoFly believes that providing this type of support is the best way to help aspiring inventors all over the world create the kind of ground-breaking devices that the Competition seeks.



GoFly believes that solutions can come from anyone, anywhere. Scientists, engineers, academics, entrepreneurs, and other innovators with new ideas from all over the world are invited to form a Team and register to compete. To participate, a Team may organize their own members, recruit additional experts to join them, and can add new members at any time throughout the Competition. 

To be eligible to participate in the GoFly Prize, Teams must complete all registration and administration forms, including a short bio for each Team member, certain legal documents, and be accepted by GoFly into the competition.

For more information, see “Eligibility” below.



The GoFly Prize Competition is a two-year Competition launched on September 26, 2017.  There will be three sequential rounds of the Competition.

Phase I                   

  • Submission of a written report and preliminary drawing

Phase II                  

  • Submission of an updated written report and demonstration of progress in development of the personal flying device

Phase III                 

  • Final Fly Off competition and Grand Prize award     ****Grand Prize still available****

A list of important dates is set forth below:

Description                                                                                                                               Date

Competition Launch and Open of Registration                                                   September 26, 2017

Phase I submission deadline                                                                                            April 18, 2018

Phase I awards issued                                                                                                          June 14, 2018 

Phase II registration deadline                                                                                         December 14, 2018

Phase II submission deadline                                                                                          February 6, 2019

Phase II awards and Phase III Fly Off invitations begin to be issued       March 26, 2019

Phase III Fly Off planning review and Registration deadline                       October 1, 2019

Fly-Off Planning Review complete                                                                              January 31, 2020

Final Fly Off                                                                                                                               February 26-29, 2020

Grand Prize still open                                                                                                           Now

Dates and other information are subject to change at the discretion of GoFly. GoFly will post changes on the Competition website to ensure that all registered teams are informed of any change. All submissions must be submitted electronically through the GoFly Competition website.



To compete in the GoFly Prize, the participant must be a registered Team that has been approved by GoFly.   Note that the information below is only a summary for your convenience.  For full details, please refer to the legal documents for each phase referred to below.


Innovators can compete in Phase I both as Individual Innovators and in groups.  To begin the registration process for Phase 1 (the Paper Report phase of the Competition) and be accepted to participate, you must:

  1. Sign the Phase I Competition Agreement
  2. Sign the Release of Liability and Indemnification Agreement

All forms can be found here, and all may be accepted and submitted online.   

Submission of the documents will enable access to the Phase I submission form for competing.  There is no registration fee, but upon submission of a Team’s Phase I competition entry, there will be a fee of $250 for Individual Innovators or a fee of $500 for Teams with two or more persons.



There is a big difference between designing on paper and actual building/flying, so the documents involved for the different phases of the GoFly Prize vary as well.   In order to proceed from Phase I (the paper, technical specifications phase of the competition) into the actual building (Phases II and III of the Competition), ALL Teams must submit an additional application and be accepted as a Phase II or Phase III Team by GoFly. Under no circumstances should any off-paper work, building or testing take place before a Team is formally admitted into Phase II or Phase III of the GoFly Prize. Should any work be done off-paper before being accepted into Phase II or Phase III in contravention of the foregoing, such work is done entirely outside the scope of the GoFly Prize.

The Phase II and III Application forms will be available in May 2018.  Each Phase II and III Team is required to complete the package of legal documents which will govern the Competition, including the following:

  • Master Team Agreement
  • Certificate of Insurance (as required by the Master Team Agreement)
  • Updated Team Release of Liability and Indemnification Agreement
  • Updated Team Member Release of Liability and Indemnification Agreement
  • Media Rights Agreement
  • Participant Equity Agreement, including the Company Questionnaire and the other documents referenced therein.

Of note, Phase II and III Teams must register and participate as legal entities, and not as individuals.  See “Eligibility” below for further details.


Teams must sign all legal documents and comply with all requirements therein to be admitted to the Competition.  Once GoFly determines that a Team has complied with all requirements of the legal documents and these Competition Guidelines, it will notify the Team that it is approved for entry into the Competition.

Team shall designate a Team Member to act as “Team Leader”. The Team Leader will be responsible for communicating with GoFly and the Judging Panel. The Team Leader (and all Team members) must be at least 18 years old (or the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence, if such age is older than 18 years). Team may add and/or remove Team Members at any time through the Team Portal.  Team has sole responsibility for adding and removing Team Members.

At registration, each Team must list each individual that is part of the Team, and such list shall include all individuals or entities involved in the design, development, or testing of the Submission, including employees (“Team Members”). All Team Members must register at the Competition website and sign the Phase I Competition Agreement. Team may add and/or remove Team Members at any time through the Team Portal.  Team has sole responsibility for adding and removing Team Members. 

Teams may revise registration information at any time and are responsible for keeping information up to date. All Teams wishing to continue on to Phase II and III must complete all Phase II and III legal documents by the Phase II and III registration deadline. New teams who have not participated in Phase I or Phase II are still eligible to participate in Phase III by completing registration documents by the Phase III registration deadline.

As part of this Competition, GOFLY may receive some of Team’s and Team Members’ personal information. The collection, use, and disclosure of this information will be governed by GOFLY’s Privacy Policy. The Privacy Policy includes several ways to contact GOFLY with questions.  By submitting such information, Team agrees that (i) GOFLY may use the personal information collected as described in the Privacy Policy and (ii) GOFLY may disclose such Team’s and Team Members’ contact information and Competition registration information to Boeing, other Competition sponsors, and GoFly affiliates and investors.  Team expressly authorizes each of the foregoing to contact Team if Boeing so desires.  Teams have the right to access, withdraw, and correct their personal information. 



Phase I Eligibility:

Individual Innovators: The Competition is open to individual Innovators who (a) are at least 18 years old (or the age of majority in his/her jurisdiction of residence if it is older than 18), (b) comply fully with all terms and conditions of the Phase I Competition Agreement, and (c) are able to participate without violation of any third-party rights or obligations, including without limitation an employer’s policies or procedures.

Exclusions: Individual Innovators may not be (a) a Boeing employee or a member of any Boeing employee’s immediate family, (b) located in a jurisdiction where participation in the Competition is prohibited or otherwise restricted by law (or an individual with a residence in or who is a national of Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea or Sudan) or (c) subject to export controls or sanctions of the U.S.

Business Entities:  The Competition is open to legal entities that wish to compete as a team and (a) are validly formed and in existence under applicable law, (b) comply fully with all terms and conditions of the Phase I Competition Agreement, and (c) are able to participate without violation of any third-party rights or obligations.    

Exclusions:  Entity Innovators must not have any presence in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea or Sudan or be subject to export controls or sanctions of the United States.

Phase II and Phase III Eligibility:

Among other requirements, the Competition is open to business entities that wish to compete as a team and (a) are validly formed and in existence under applicable law, (b) comply fully with all terms and conditions of the Master Team Agreement, (c) have completed the full package of required legal documents, and (d) are able to participate without violation of any third-party rights or obligations.    

All Team Members must (a) be at least 18 years old (or the age of majority in his/her jurisdiction of residence if it is older than 18), (b) comply fully with all terms and conditions of the Master Team Agreement and all other GoFly legal documents, and (c) be able to participate without violation of any third-party rights or obligations, including without limitation an employer’s policies or procedures.

Exclusions: A Team Member may not be (a) a Boeing employee or a member of any Boeing employee’s immediate family, (b) a Pratt & Whitney employee or a member of any Pratt & Whitney employee’s immediate family, (c) located in a jurisdiction where participation in the Competition is prohibited or otherwise restricted by law (or an individual with a residence in or who is a national of Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea or Sudan) or (d) subject to export controls or sanctions of the U.S..  Additionally, Teams must not have any presence in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea or Sudan or be subject to export controls or sanctions of the United States. In all cases, each Team’s legal documents, forms and questionnaires are subject to GoFly’s review and approval.

Each Team’s compliance with these requirements and eligibility for the Competition will be determined by GoFly in its sole discretion.  Only Teams meeting all of the eligibility requirements set forth in the Master Team Agreement as determined by GoFly and who are otherwise qualified and accepted by GoFly will be recognized as participants in the Competition. 

Each Team must obey all local, national, and international laws in undertaking any activities related to the Competition.  Team must fully comply with all applicable laws and acquire all necessary licenses, waivers, and/or permits from the applicable regulatory bodies or other applicable third parties. GoFly is not required to advise Team regarding such legal and regulatory compliance, and GoFly shall have no responsibility for Team’s compliance with laws applicable to Team and disclaims any responsibility for advising on the applicability of laws or regulations applicable to a Team’s participation in the Competition or Team’s compliance therewith.  GoFly’s acceptance of Team into the Competition does not constitute approval of Team’s compliance with laws applicable to Team.



For each Phase of the Competition, Teams will be required to submit the materials and writings described in these Guidelines (“Submissions”).  All Submissions must comply with the following requirements:

  • Except for purchased or licensed content, any Submission must be original work of Team;
  • Submission must include only content (including any technical information, algorithms, designs, music, audio, visual or illustrative content, including logos, images, graphics, art, or other content, information, or materials protected any intellectual property right) that Team owns or has proper rights to use;
  • Team is required to disclose any purchased or licensed content that is part of a Submission.
  • Submissions must not contain any incomplete, corrupt, damaged, or malicious material;
  • Submissions must not contain material that violates or infringes another’s rights, including but not limited to privacy, copyright, trade secret, patent, trademark, publicity or any intellectual property rights;
  • Submissions must not disparage GoFly, any Competition sponsor, any GoFly affiliate or investor or any of their respective affiliates, officers, directors or employees;
  • Submissions must not contain material that is inappropriate, offensive, indecent, obscene, tortious, defamatory, slanderous or libelous and must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age; and
  • Submissions must not contain material that is unlawful, in violation of, or contrary to laws or regulations.




No Judge, nor any member of Judge’s immediate family, shall participate in any team.  All members of the Judging Panel will promptly disclose to GoFly any such current, former, or expected future conflict of interest with GoFly, Boeing and/or any Team or Team member.


The duties and responsibilities of the Judging Panel will include, but not be limited to: (i) evaluating teams’ compliance with the Competitors Agreement, these Competition Guidelines, and the Rules and Regulations for the purposes of the Competition; and (ii) the awarding of points and selection of teams that will receive prizes for each phase of the Competition.


Official decisions made by the Final Round Judging Panel will be approved by a majority of the Judges that vote on such decision after careful consideration of the testing protocols, procedures, guidelines, rules, regulations, criteria, results, and scores set forth in the Master Team Agreement and these Competition Guidelines. If any vote of the Judges results in a tie, then the Judging Panel shall determine, in its sole and absolute discretion, the mechanism to settle the tie. Similarly, if one or more teams are tied at any stage during the competition, the Judging Panel shall have the sole and absolute discretion to settle the tie. 


The Judging Panel shall have sole and absolute discretion: (i) to allocate duties among the Judges; (ii) to determine the degree of accuracy and error rate that is acceptable to the Judging Panel for all competition calculations, measurements, and results, where not specified in the Rules and Regulations; (iii) to determine the methodology used by the Judging Panel to render its decisions; (iv) to declare the winners of the competition; and (v) to award the prize purses and other awards. Decisions of the Judging Panel shall be binding on teams and each team member. Teams agree not to dispute any decision or ruling of the Judging Panel, including decisions regarding the degree of accuracy or error rate of any competition calculations, measurements, and results. Teams shall have no right to observe other teams’ testing or evaluation, or to be informed of other teams’ calculations, measurements, and results, unless such information is made publicly available by GoFly. 



The official language of the Competition is English. All communications with GoFly must be in English. All references to currency are expressed in United States Dollars (USD).


Challenge Guidelines


The goal of the GoFly Prize is to foster the development of safe, quiet, ultra-compact, near-VTOL personal flying devices capable of flying twenty miles while carrying a single person.

The challenge consists of three progressive payout opportunities beginning in 2017:

Phase I:        

  • Up to ten $20,000 prizes awarded based on a written report.

Phase II:      

  • Up to five $50,000 prizes awarded based on revised Phase I material (or for new teams new Phase I material) and demonstrated performance of progress to date.


  1. One $1,000,000 Grand Prize awarded for the best compliant overall fly-off score.
  2. One $100,000 prize, the Pratt & Whitney Disruptor Prize, awarded for disruptive advancement of the state of the art.

Fly-off scores for the Grand Prize will be based on highly challenging criteria in the following areas:

  • Performance, including speed & endurance
  • The ability to achieve near vertical takeoff and landing
  • Quietness
  • Compactness
  • The experience of open-air flight

What the device looks like or how it works to accomplish the task, and accomplish it safely, is up to you.


1. Schedule and Deliverables

Dates and other information here are subject to change at the discretion of GoFly. GoFly will post changes on the challenge site and ensure that all registered teams are informed of any change. All judging decisions are final.

All materials must be in English and be submitted electronically by the appropriate deadline through the competition website. No exceptions.

1.1. April 18, 2018: Phase I submission deadline

Teams will submit a written report summarizing the project (submission form preview available here). To be eligible to enter a submission for Phase I of the GoFly Prize, competitors must complete all registration and legal forms and pay the submission fee.

Submissions will be scored in the following categories:

50 points               Technical content and feasibility

15 points               Novel innovation and market considerations

15 points               Safety considerations

10 points               Project execution feasibility

10 points               Organization, clarity, and succinctness

1.2. June 14, 2018: Phase I awards issued

Based on the Phase I submission scores, and at the discretion of the judges, Phase I winners will be announced and prize money issued. The winners will be announced publicly. However, their work will remain private (except for the publicly-releasable graphic).

1.3. December 14, 2018: Phase II registration deadline

Regardless of Phase I participation, all teams must register for Phase II by the Phase II registration deadline. To be eligible to participate in Phase II of the GoFly Prize, teams must complete all registration and legal forms, procure required insurance, and be accepted by GoFly into the competition. A complete list of documents are available at the competition website.

1.4. February 6, 2019: Phase II submission deadline

Teams will submit up-to-date Phase I material (all parts) with the addition of a status report. In addition to the Phase I scoring categories, an additional 50 points will be awarded based on project status and progress to date.

The Phase II submission must also act as sufficient documentary proof that a prototype, demonstrator, or the device itself has flown and successfully performed at a minimum the following maneuvers (tethered and sub-scale testing are acceptable):

  • Vertical or near-vertical takeoff followed by steady flight out of ground effect
  • Aborted landing
  • Vertical or near-vertical landing

1.5. March 26, 2019: Phase II awards and fly-off invitations begin to be issued

Based on the progress to date as exemplified in the Phase II submission, and at the discretion of the judges, Phase II winners will be announced and prize money issued. The winners will be announced publicly. However, their work will remain private (except for the publicly-releasable graphic).

Fly-off participation is by invitation only. GoFly will issue invitations to the Final Fly Off based upon Teams meeting Phase II submission requirements and/or Phase III document requirements, Fly Off document requirements, and adherence to all GoFly Agreements and Rules. There are pre-fly-off requirements such as the prior flight minimums and the fly-off planning review.

1.6. October 1, 2019: Fly-Off Registration and Airworthiness Questionnaire Deadline

Team registration must be complete by this time for new teams that did not participate in Phase II.

To maximize the chances that you will be legally authorized to fly at the fly-off event, by this time (and earlier is required for teams that are already registered) you will need to provide information via a questionnaire related to your device and personnel certifications and pathways used for airworthiness and operations, such as:

  • What FAA pathway/rules are you using for flight, e.g. section 44807 (formerly section 333) exemption, Part 103, etc.?
  • Have you been issued or do you anticipate any certifications, authorizations, waivers, or other FAA exemptions?
  • Device information: Will your device be manned or unmanned? What is the approximate empty weight? What is the make and model? What is the registration number or other identification, if issued?
  • Pilot information: What is the pilot’s address? What is the pilot’s certificate number and rating, if any?

1.7. January 31, 2020: Fly-off planning review must be complete

An earlier review is recommended to address any discovered issues for follow-up by the deadline. Beginning in November 2019, teams may schedule a fly-off planning review, to be held via video teleconference. 

Representative operational experience with your final device is required prior to scheduling a fly-off planning review. Experience operating your device must be in ways representative of tasks you will perform at the fly-off, including flight representative of all of the flight demonstration tasks and other operational aspects such as startup and shutdown procedures.

The fly-off planning review will also require teams to know their detailed procedures for fly-off tasks, such as demonstrating ground transport, reserves, reusability, etc.

1.8. February 26-29, 2020: Final Fly-Off

Teams must have completed the required logged safe prior flight described in section 4.2.3 prior to the fly-off.​ 

Teams must arrive at the fly-off prepared with device, operator, crew, supplies, and support equipment necessary to complete all fly-off tech inspection and flight demonstration tasks.

1.9  Grand Prize still open

The $1,000,000 Grand Prize  is still available.


2. Fly-Off Tasks and Measurements

The fly-off will consist of two phases: tech inspection and flight demonstration. Various scored and unscored attributes will be measured or validated in each phase. The scored parameters are size, noise, and speed.

2.1. Tech Inspection

Teams must report to tech inspection at the fly-off with their device in flight-ready condition at fully fueled weight.

2.1.1. Conformance

Teams must certify that their entry is one-in-the-same as the device that has been represented to GoFly and other authorities and that has completed the documented and logged testing.

Teams who will fly the flight demonstration unmanned with a dummy instead of a human operator must show that the dummy is not structurally or mechanically integral to the device (beyond the level that a human operator would be) by removing the dummy and exhibiting the operator interface using a human operator.

2.1.2. Size measurement (SIZE)

The scoring parameter for size is the maximum single dimension in any direction between two planes, measured in feet.

The operator is not included.

Non-rigid elements, such as harnesses and straps, are included in their position with a 5’ 9” operator in place.

If the device has more than one configuration used for a normal full flight profile (as demonstrated in the flight demonstration), the measurement is taken for the largest of any non-transient configuration used in flight or on the ground. Components that continuously rotate are treated as a full disc.

2.1.3. Sightlines

The operator field of view is the GoFly metric for the open-air flight experience. A cone with 90° aperture (provided by contest organizers), with the apex at the design eye position (the bridge of the operator's nose while in flight posture), must not intersect or overlap any part of the device other than transparencies that are not primary structure.

The axis of the cone must be within 20 degrees of the operator's line of sight vector. The line of sight must be horizontal and forward-facing for some steady and trimmed flight mode (e.g., hover or cruise), chosen by the team.


Conical keep-out zone illustration. Inner cone represents allowed deviation of axis from line of sight vector.


The operator (with clothing, helmet, etc.) is not included.

The entire swept path of any continuously moving or spinning component is considered opaque.

2.1.4. Ground transport

During tech inspection, teams will be required to demonstrate that the device, unpowered and unoccupied by the operator, can be moved from one ground location to another over a level hard surface. Unpowered ground aides such as dollies are allowed. All tasks required for the ground transport demonstration must be achievable by a single individual. Required lifting (not including carrying) should not exceed 80 lbs; required pushing/pulling should not exceed 50 lbs.

2.2. Flight Demonstration

For the flight demonstration, the device, with full operator (or dummy stand-in) weight, must complete a single flight profile that successfully includes all of the following tasks:

  1. Takeoff and climb without violating the takeoff/landing envelope.
  2. Conduct a speed run of six laps around a 1 nmi course.
  3. Demonstrate the capability to abort a landing by performing a touch & go without violating the takeoff/landing envelope.
  4. After loitering such that total flight demonstration endurance is greater than 20 minutes, descend and land without violating the takeoff/landing envelope.

2.2.1. Takeoff/landing envelope

The takeoff/landing envelope is a 30 foot diameter cylinder. The virtual walls of the envelope are 12 feet high.

Illustration of 30 ft diameter, 12 ft high takeoff/landing envelope

In addition, 2.25” x 3.75” x 8” (nominal dimensions) bricks (available here) will be arranged to define the boundary on the ground. The bricks will be arranged approximately every 24 inches and stood upright to rest on the 2” x 8” side. If, at any time during the flight demonstration, a brick is knocked over by the device, operator, or downwash, the boundary is considered violated.

No part of the boundary may be violated by any part of the device or operator. Violating the boundary during any flight demonstration phase constitutes a failed flight demonstration attempt.

2.2.2. Noise measurement (NOISE)

Sound pressure level will be measured at locations equidistant from the center of the takeoff/landing envelope, corrected to 50 feet. The sound pressure level will be measured and analyzed in decibels relative to 20 micropascals, with A frequency weighting and S time weighting.

The maximum sound level will be determined at each of six measurement locations. The arithmetic mean of the highest three of these values yields a sound level rating.

A sound level rating will be determined during the flight demonstration during takeoff and climb and during descent and landing (not during the touch & go). The higher of the two sound level readings in dBA is the noise score.

2.2.3. Speed measurement (SPEED)

The course is defined by two pylons (physical markers with infinite vertical projections) located 0.5 nmi apart.

A lap involves crossing the start/stop plane in the air, flying around both pylons, and then crossing the start/stop plane again.

Speed run sample course illustration showing start/stop plane and pylons with vertical projections (not to scale).

The 6 nmi nominal length of the course is divided by the total time for the speed run to yield the speed score in units of knots.

The speed run may be flown at any safe altitude out of ground effect (defined as at least 1 x the size measurement at all times). There is no guarantee that the entire course will be obstacle-free at altitudes below 50’ AGL.

2.2.4. Touch & go

The touch & go maneuver must begin and end above 12 ft AGL. Contact with the ground must be inside the takeoff/landing envelope.

Contact with the ground must be only momentary. The device must be designed such that aborting a landing is possible with or without first touching the ground.

2.2.5. Total endurance

The timing for total endurance begins during takeoff at the moment when every part of the device or operator is no longer touching the ground.

The timing stops during landing at touchdown.

A total endurance less than the requirement constitutes a failed flight attempt.

Loitering flight to fulfill the endurance may be flown at any safe altitude out of ground effect.

2.2.6. Reserves

Emergency reserves for an additional ten minutes of flight and a landing will be demonstrated by weighing fuel consumed during the mission and fuel remaining.

Teams with devices that do not significantly change weight consuming energy during a flight must provide a means to demonstrate the full emergency reserve capability.

2.2.7. Harsh operator conditions

To prevent unacceptably harsh conditions for the operator, a contest-provided sensor package may be used during the flight demonstration to ensure that the operator or dummy does not endure extreme sustained g forces greater than 5 g or dangerous impulses from hard landings. Violating these limits during any flight demonstration phase may require repeating some or all of the flight demonstration.


3. Fly-Off Scoring

The final score is a function of the scored parameters as described in the Fly-Off Tasks. From each value, a score factor, θ, is determined, as shown in the following table and figure.



The various score factors are combined to determine the final score as follows:

To be compliant and eligible for the Grand Prize, smallest prize, or quietest prize, each scored parameter must meet the threshold.


4. Additional Requirements

The device must be designed and built to maximize the fly-off score while meeting or exceeding the following specifications.

4.1 General

4.1.1. Fly-off completion

The device must be able to successfully complete all fly-off tasks and judging criteria.

4.1.2. Flying conditions

The density altitude at the fly-off will be no more than 5000 ft. Maximum winds for a flight attempt will be no more than 15 knots (including no more than 5 knot gust factor).

The fly-off will be conducted under day VFR conditions. Low visibility, low ceilings, or precipitation should not be expected. No team will be expected to fly in unacceptable weather.

4.1.3. Unmanned option

The device must be designed to carry a human operator of normal size and weight. However, unmanned flight as a remotely piloted or autonomous UAV is allowed. The “operator” for an unmanned device must be an anthropomorphic test dummy (ATD) defined by 49 CFR part 572, subpart B (50th percentile male) or a GoFly-approved equivalent. Pre-approved equivalents are the Simulaids Rescue Randy models 9000 (with water ballast) and 1436. A dummy may be modified within reason to include necessary avionics and actuators required for remotely piloting the device.

4.1.4. Operator weight

The operator (or ballasted dummy) weight must be 200 lbs or more. This includes clothing, gloves, helmet, personal parachute, other personal protective equipment, contest-provided sensor package, and any necessary operator-carried ballast to achieve the minimum operator weight.

4.1.5. Airworthiness

Teams are responsible for ensuring their device and operator are legally allowed to fly and are not in conflict with any FAA or other regulations both during testing and practice and at the fly-off.

4.1.6. Single unit

The device must remain a single unit throughout operation. No add-on, detachable, or disposable launch/landing aides are allowed.

4.1.7. Energy sources

Refueling or recharging of the device must utilize readily available and safe sources. Approved energy sources are electricity, automotive fuels, and aviation fuels. Other energy sources are allowed with pre-approval from GoFly.

Swapping of battery packs is allowed between flight attempts, but teams must still utilize rechargeable battery chemistries.

4.1.8. Reusability

The device must be reusable, i.e., it must be designed such that only the energy source (see above) must be replaced between flights.


4.2. Safety

4.2.1. Human-ratable

The intent of this competition is to develop technologies that can be rated for people to safely fly in the future. Consequently, the competition requires that all device architectures are, at the fundamental concept level, "human-ratable." The organizers define "human-ratable" as follows:

A device that has no systems or components, except for primary structure, in which a single point failure results in loss of an operator's life or limb.

Systems or components which, in the event of their failure, permit safe landing of the operator, may be of single string design.

4.2.2. Structure and component suitability

The primary structure may be a single point of failure if:

  • adequate proof testing is performed, or
  • it is designed to loads significantly higher than expected loads (safety factor ≥ 1.5) and its structural integrity is regularly inspected.

Adequate quality, performance, and service life of all components must meet appropriate requirements for the intended application.

4.2.3. Logged safe prior flight

Prior to the fly-off, you must have flight logged that totals the equivalent total maneuvers of at least ten full flight demonstrations. This must include at least 10 takeoffs, 1 hour total of flight analogous to speed course flight, 10 go-around maneuvers, and 10 landings to a full stop and power-down. This must be without incident, and any configuration changes made during this testing period must be documented.

In addition, the most recent logged flight, defined as including maneuvers totaling the equivalent of at least two full flight demonstrations and to the full extents of the mission performance envelope, including pre-takeoff and post-landing operations and remaining within a set demonstration area (in other words, rehearsals of your flight demonstration), must be without incident and with no changes whatsoever to the configuration. The restriction on changes is in the strictest possible sense, and “configuration” is used here in the broadest sense to include not just the device itself, but also personnel, ground equipment, procedures, software, etc.

4.2.4. Safety report

Teams are required to maintain and periodically submit a safety report. The safety report has no page limits or file size limits.

In the safety report, teams must:

  • Identify any single-point system failure that makes the device unsafe as defined above.
  • Propose design mitigations to the identified single point failures such that the design could be made fail-safe and human-ratable. Examples of mitigations may include enhancing component reliability, software development and testing, or utilizing emergency rescue ejection and parachute systems. Teams are strongly encouraged to incorporate as many of these mitigations into their fly-off entries as possible.

In addition, teams are strongly encouraged, but not required, to include in the safety report:

  • Documentation of structural analysis and/or testing.
  • Documentation and logs of flight testing or any other testing to date.
  • A functional hazard analysis.

4.2.5. Team safety responsibility

Competition teams are solely responsible for the safe operation of their vehicles. This includes the safety of the operator, the vehicle, and any object or person on the ground. The organizers of the competition will verify that each report submitted addresses the above requirements. If the test teams do not address the above requirements, they will not be allowed to proceed in the competition. However, the organizers will not assess the adequacy of the submission from a safety perspective. The competition team is solely responsible for identifying all risks, mitigating them to the maximum extent possible, and determining if the residual risk is acceptable.


Click here to download a PDF copy of the rules. (V1.5 – 8/15/19)

Click here to download a PDF copy of the rules. (V1.4 – 8/1/19)

Click here to download a PDF copy of a previous version of the rules. (V1.3 - 6/10/19)

Click here to download a PDF copy of a previous version of the rules. (V1.2 – 5/23/19)

Click here to download a PDF copy of a previous version of the rules. (V1.1 - 1/3/18)

Click here to download a PDF copy of a previous version of the rules. (V1.0 - 9/26/17)

Final Fly Off


GoFly Masters Program

Even the best and brightest minds can use a little help sometimes.   Teams will have the opportunity to listen to and engage in discussions with the Masters of Aerospace and Business in global webinars.  See the Lecture Archive here.

Masters are listed below in alphabetical order. 


Dr. Shane Arnott, Director, Boeing Phantom Works International; Senior Technical Fellow, Boeing Defense, Space & Security

As Director of Boeing Phantom Works International, Dr Shane Arnott is responsible for the Phantom Works international presence in Australia, the United Kingdom, Korea, India, and Saudi Arabia. The Phantom Works mission is to engage customers to understand their needs, and the development of resulting prototypes of new products and systems. Arnott is a Senior Technical Fellow with Boeing, recognised as being within the top 0.1 per cent of Boeing engineers, and is the international spokesperson for the fellowship. Arnott has been with the company since 1997. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours (First Class) and a PhD in Systems Engineering.

Watch Dr. Arnott's Master Lecture on Aircraft Modeling & Simulation

Ashish Bagai, Founder and Principal of buGiAero

Ashish is founder and principal of buGiAero — committed to supporting the advanceme/nt of new and innovative concepts in fixed-wing, rotorcraft, and distributed propulsion air vehicles. He holds degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland in College Park.

Ashish has worked in academia, industry and the DoD:

In academia, he has mentored design-build-fly teams to design, build, test and demonstrate novel technological concepts such as scaled an electric-Advancing Blade Concept incorporating variable CG as a means of control, an amorphous, reconfigurable, flexible flying surface incorporating structural deformation for control and impregnated structural damping, and surface effect aircraft design.

At the DoD, he developed and managed a strong portfolio in vertical flight concepts, both for mission applications and as technology demonstrations. He was also instrumental in the streamlining and execution of flight test planning, authorization and execution, and developing best practices. In industry, Ashish has worked on a number of aircraft systems, most notably on the design of rotor systems and blade design that are currently flying on a number of aircraft, including the S-76D and CH-53K. His most notable contributions were to the development of the X2 high speed helicopter. In his current role, he provides technical, advisory, collaborative and mentoring services in support of the development and testing of aircraft systems and designs, and has worked with large and mid-sized corporations, educational institutions, small start-ups and government. 

Jon Beatty, President and CEO, Flight Safety Foundation
Jon Beatty is president and CEO of Flight Safety Foundation, an international, independent non-profit founded in 1947 to advance aviation safety. Prior to joining the Foundation in April 2014, Jon served as president and CEO of International Aero Engines (IAE), a division of United Technologies from 2007 – 2009 and again from 2012 – 2013, and was senior vice president, airline customers, at Pratt & Whitney Senior from 2010 to 2012. In addition, he has held management and executive positions at Pratt & Whitney, BF Goodrich and Allied Signal. He started his career as a quality engineer at Sikorsky Aircraft.

Paul Bevilaqua, Manager of Advanced Programs, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works (retired)

Dr. Paul Bevilaqua has spent much of his career developing Vertical Take Off and Landing aircraft. He joined Lockheed Martin as Chief Aeronautical Scientist and became Chief Engineer of the Skunk Works, where he played a leading role in creating the Joint Strike Fighter. He invented the dual cycle propulsion system that made it possible to build a stealthy supersonic VSTOL Strike Fighter, and suggested that conventional and Naval variants of this aircraft could be developed to create a common, affordable aircraft for all three services. He subsequently led the engineering team that demonstrated the feasibility of building this aircraft.  The propulsion team received the Collier Trophy for this accomplishment.

Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, he was Manager of Advanced Programs at Rockwell International’s Navy aircraft plant, where he led the design of VSTOL interceptor and transport aircraft. He began his career as an Air Force officer at Wright Patterson AFB, where he developed a lift system for an Air Force VSTOL Search and Rescue Aircraft. He received degrees in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and Purdue University, as well as an honorary degree from Cranfield University in the UK.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He received a USAF Scientific Achievement Award, both the AIAA and SAE Aircraft Design Awards, both the AIAA and AHS VSTOL Awards, and the Lockheed Martin AeroStar and Nova Awards.

Watch Dr. Bevilaqua's GoFly Master Lecture on Vertical Flight and Powered Lift

Mark Bezos, Brand Experience Consultant

Mark Bezos is the Founder of DemoMode Marketing - a branding and customer experience consultancy. For 10 years, Mark worked at Robin Hood, the leading poverty-fighting charity in New York City, where he served most recently as Senior Vice President for Development, Communications & Events. Mark joined Robin Hood following the sale of Bezos Nathanson Marketing Group, his advertising agency, excited to have found a way to use his powers of persuasion for good. In addition to his work in philanthropy, Mark is the Captain of a Volunteer Fire Company. He is continuously amazed and motivated by the everyday acts of heroism–big and small–that surround him.

Akif Bolukbasi, Senior Technical Fellow, Boeing

Dr. Bolukbasi is an internationally recognized expert in aircraft crash safety and impact dynamics. His technical knowledge spans multiple disciplines including structures and materials, dynamics, biomechanics, test and evaluation, subsystem design and integration, information technology, and computational methods. He was a program manager and principal investigator for over 20 IR&D, CR&D, and IAD projects. He was also instrumental in technology transition from R&D activities into Boeing products and is an accomplished author, presenting over 20 technical papers at industry conferences and been published in several industry journals.

He was one of the founding engineers of Simula, Inc., a small technology company specializing in aircraft structural crashworthiness and ballistic armor. He has been recognized for many accolades, including the AHS Jensen Award (2011) “Boeing Active Crash Protection System Development”, and served as the Technical Chairman of the 62nd AHS Forum, and currently serves as an Advisory Board Member of ASU Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Dept.

Watch Dr. Bolukbasi's Master Lecture on Aircraft Crashworthiness

Greg Bowles, the Vice President of Global Innovation & Policy for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA)

Greg Bowles is the Vice President of Global Innovation & Policy for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) where he is responsible for the identification of key technological opportunities to evolve the global safety, efficiency and success of aviation. Greg leads the GAMA Electric Propulsion & Innovation Committee (EPIC) which represents the world’s leading aviation mobility development companies along with traditional aviation manufacturers as this community strives to enable new kinds of public transportation through the air. Greg also currently leads the worldwide design standards committee which is chartered to develop globally acceptable means of compliance for general aviation aircraft.

Prior to joining GAMA, Bowles worked as a certification engineer at Keystone (now Sikorsky) Helicopter, and was a design engineer at Cessna Aircraft Company (now Textron Aviation). Bowles holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Webster University. He is an active instrument rated general aviation pilot.

Pete Buck, Lockheed Martin Senior Fellow

Peter Buck is a Lockheed Martin Senior Fellow. He has worked at the Advanced Development Programs (ADP), also known as the Skunk Works® since 1981. In this capacity he has worked as a senior engineer, project lead and chief engineer on many development projects ranging from very low speed to very high speed flight systems. In addition to his Lockheed Martin duties, Mr. Buck co-designed the Sonex, Waiex and Xenos Light Sport kit aircraft of which there are more than 600 flying examples worldwide, earning him the 2003 August Raspet Award presented by the Experimental Aircraft Association for Outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of Light Aircraft. In 2010 Mr. Buck developed an all-electric powered version of the Waiex aircraft. Pete is an active member of ASTM serving on both the F37 Light Sport Aircraft Committee and the F44 General Aviation Aircraft and was awarded the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) Standards Excellence Award in 2012 for his efforts in the development of Electric Propulsion Standards. Mr. Buck is an active licensed pilot and FAA certified mechanic. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from California State University-Northridge.

Watch Pete's Master Lecture: Safety Through Design - "Development Testing"

Aditi Chattopadhyay, Regents’ Professor, Arizona State University; Ira A. Fulton Chair, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Director of Adaptive Intelligent Materials & Systems (AIMS) Center.

Dr. Aditi Chattopadhyay received a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur, followed by MS and PhD degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her current research areas include multifunctional materials, multiscale modeling, structural health monitoring and damage prognosis, and multiaxial fatigue. She has been the Principal Investigator on numerous grants and collaborated with defense and government laboratories on significant technical transitions. Her research activities span from fundamental concept development to applied projects with immediate benefits to the industry. She has published over 170 journal papers and over 380 other publications (conference papers, book chapters, and NASA Technical Memorandum). Her research has led to several academic, research, best paper, and NASA Tech Brief awards. She is the recipient of several academic, research and best paper awards. She received the Georgia Institute of Technology Council of Outstanding Young Engineer Award (1995) and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) (2013). She is the recipient of the Faculty Achievement Award – Excellence in Research, Arizona State University (2000). Dr. Chattopadhyay is a Fellow of American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) and a Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Dr. Inderjit Chopra, Distinguished University Professor and Alfred Gessow Professor,

Aerospace Engineering;  Director of the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center at the University of Maryland.

Dr. Inderjit Chopra received his Sc.D. (Aero & Astro) from MIT in 1977 and joined NASA Ames/Stanford University Joint Institute of Aeronautics & Acoustics before joining the University Maryland as a faculty member in 1981. He has worked  on various fundamental problems related to aeromechanics of helicopters including aeroelastic stability, active vibration control, composite blades, rotor head health monitoring, aeroelastic optimization, smart structures, micro air vehicles, and comprehensive aeromechanics analyses.

He has been the principal investigator of six major research programs, served as associate editor major journals like the International Journal of Micro Air Vehicle (2013-cont.), and been a part of the advisory board of five journals. Dr. Chopra earned a number of prestigious awards, including the 2012 AHS Igor Sikorsky International Trophy and 2016 ASME Spirit of St. Louis Aviation Medal.

He has been a member of the Army Science Board (1997-2002), NASA (NRC) Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (2007-12) and NASA (NRC) Research and Technology Roundtable Board (2011-15). He is a Fellow of AIAA, a Fellow of AHS, a Fellow of ASME, a Fellow of Aero Society of India, and an Honorary Fellow of AHS.

Watch Dr. Chopra's Master Lecture on Small UAS & Delivery Drones - Challenges & Opportunities

Pat Collins, British Ministry of Defence.

Patrick Collins  graduated from Loughborough University with a BSc in Aeronautical Engineering and Design in 1979. He has been a chartered engineer for the past 30 years and was elected a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 2005.

After university, Pat worked in the Helicopter industry initially at Westland Helicopters in Yeovil before moving to Atlas Aircraft in South Africa. He returned to the UK in 1990 and worked in motorsport producing composite components for a series of racing cars produced by Tom Walkinshaw Racing, amongst them the Le Mans winning Jaguar XJR-12. He joined the UK MOD in 1994 working in the Defence Research Agency (a forerunner of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) at Farnborough. He spent much of the following 15 years working in the general area of Air Defence weapon lethality and the associated topic of air target vulnerability. In the early 2000s he led a number of NATO STO activities relating to vulnerability assessment across multiple domains, chairing a conference on the topic in Montreal in late 2008.

In 2011 he was seconded to Defence Equipment & Support (the UK MOD’s procurement agency) supporting the Director of the Helicopters Operating Centre with advice on a wide range of Science & Technology related topics. He joined DE&S full time in 2016 as the Technology lead for Helicopters. During this time he established a NATO STO group to look at Future Rotorcraft Requirements in the period from 2035. He currently co-chairs an STO Specialist Team relating to Future Rotorcraft Technologies, representing STO on the Next Generation Rotorcraft Capabilities Team of Experts and the customer organisations on the NATO Industrial Advisory Group (NIAG) Study Group that supports it.

Roger Connor, Curator, Vertical Flight, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Instruments & Avionics, Aeronautics Department, Smithsonian Institution.​

Roger Connor received his BA from Virginia Tech and holds a MA in Museum Studies from The George Washington University, a MA in American History from George Mason University, and is currently a PhD student in American History at George Mason University.

At the Smithsonian, Roger curates a number of collections, including vertical flight, Army ground force aviation aircraft, unmanned aircraft systems, ground effect vehicles, aircraft instruments and avionics, bombsights and gun sights, air navigation, and air traffic control. Roger is an experienced fixed wing commercial pilot with over 4,000 hours of flight time, including over 3,000 hours in dual instruction given. He has held flight instructor certificates in the United States and United Kingdom, holds a seaplane rating, and served as a designated private pilot examiner for the UK CAA. He was awarded Associate Fellow status by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for his work in support of the American Helicopter Society's history endeavors. He co-authored In the Cockpit II: Inside History-Making Aircraft of World War II and is currently writing a book on Virginia Aviation. His doctoral research centers on the role of federal stewardship of technology in mid-20th century America as viewed through the case studies of rotorcraft development.

Watch Roger's Master Lecture: Rising from the Rooftops: The History and Vision of Aviation in the Urban Core​

Jeremy Conrad, CEO

Jeremy Conrad is the CEO of a new robotics company focused on the future of automation. Previously he was a founding partner at Lemnos, an early stage hardware focused venture fund. Prior to Lemnos Mr. Conrad was an active duty United States Air Force officer working on the Airborne Laser Program. Mr. Conrad received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Watch Jeremy's GoFly Master Lecture onSoft Skills and Networking for Founders

Blanche Demaret, Program Director for Rotorcraft at ONERA ONERA (National Research Center for Aeronautics and Aerospace)

Blanche Demaret is an aeronautical engineer and Program Director for Rotocraft at ONERA. From 1977 to 2004 she served as Delegation Generale for l’Armement (DGA), part of the French Ministry of Defense. She has had several positions managing and contracting for rotorcraft R&T industry, research centers and specialized universities. She is in charge of the management of studies encompassing all the scientific disciplines of helicopter domain, such as aerodynamic and dynamic flight mechanics. She has a degrees from the EPF Engineer School in Paris, France.

Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium Satellite

Mr. Desch is CEO of Iridium, operating the world’s largest low earth satellite system providing global communications for aircraft, ships, governments and militaries all over the world.  An early pioneer in the wireless industry, he was previously CEO of Telcordia (now part of Ericsson), President of Nortel Networks, and started his career at AT&T Bell Labs. An avid pilot, he also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and AOPA Foundation.  He’s also a member of the US President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Council (NSTAC).

Carl Dietrich, CTO and Co-Founder, Terrafugia 

Carl received his BS, MS and Ph.D. from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shortly after receiving the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for Innovation in 2006. Carl was also recognized by the Aero/Astro Department at MIT as one of sixteen exceptional graduates under the age of 35. In addition, Carl has received "40 Under 40" awards from the Boston Business Journal and Aviation Week & Space Technology Magazine. Carl has spoken internationally and is generally regarded as the leader of the emerging modern flying car industry. He has been a private pilot since the age of seventeen.

Watch Carl’s Master Lecture on The Story of Terrafugia

Fernando Dones, BDS-PW, Advanced Vertical Lift/, Technical Fellow – Vehicle Management Systems, Boeing

Fernando Dones’ expertise in the Flight Controls was developed over a 35 year career making technical leadership contributions on programs such as Advanced Digital/Optical Control System (ADOCS), V-22, CH-47, TX, Phantom Swift, Bell-Boeing 609, Rotorcraft Aircrew Systems Concepts Airborne Laboratory (RASCAL), and Adaptive Vehicle Management System. His contributions to these programs include systems architectures, innovative safety monitors, redundancy management algorithms, FCS actuator servo loop approaches with safety monitors, and software architectures optimized for system safety and handling quality performance. His broad practical experience complemented by deep technical understanding and ability to explain complex concepts make him a highly sought technical advisor and a celebrated mentor.  Worked as System DER for the Bell-Boeing 609 for Flight Controls. Has been working on Electric-VTOL technology over the past 5 years and holds of being an Engineer Technical Fellow of the Boeing Company.   He holds a Single Engine Land Private Pilot License with an IFR certificate.

Watch Fernando Dones' GoFly Master Lecture on Rotary-wing Flight Controls & Vehicle Safety Management

Johnny Doo, President, International Vehicle Research, Inc.

Johnny Doo is the President of International Vehicle Research, Inc., focusing on innovative manned and unmanned flight vehicle technology and product development while supporting global rescue and disaster relief initiatives. Also, he leads the NASA coordinated Transformative Vertical Flight – Public Services working group, teaming with 50 industry & institution expert & executive members to develop the roadmap for search & rescue, disaster relief, police & firefighting, medical transport and military eVTOL applications. He has over 30 years of experience in managing and developing aviation products from high performance piston aircraft, personal and business jets to unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. He is also the co-author of the book “WIG Craft and Ekranoplan – Ground Effect Craft Technology.”

Richard Golaszewski, Partner and Executive Vice President,  GRA, Incorporated 
Richard Golaszewski is Partner and Executive Vice President of GRA Incorporated. He has also conducted a number of assessments of technology development programs and written on the economics of aeronautical research and technology investments for NASA and other organizations He was a member for the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Academies for six years, and was named a Lifetime National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences in 2003 for his significant pro bono involvement in its aerospace and air transportation activities. Mr. Golaszewski received a B.S. in Accounting (magna cum laude) from LaSalle College and an M.P.A. in Public Sector Management and Finance from the Wharton Graduate School, University of Pennsylvania. He was a military officer and helicopter pilot from 1967 to 1972.

Watch Rich's GoFly Master Lecture on Assessing New Vehicle Concepts and the Demand for Air Travel

Avrum Goldman, B. Eng, M. Eng

Avrum’s career at Pratt & Whitney spans 34 years in the fields of engineering, airworthiness, quality and sustainability. He has worked on nearly all of the 14 product families designed and manufactured by P&W’s Canadian division, from design, development and certification through production, service and overhaul. He has also worked on cost engineering, process certification and technology development.

Avrum Goldman has both bachelor and master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University in Montreal, with certificates for Six Sigma Green Belt, Certified Quality Engineer and Sustainable Development.

Avrum is passionate about mentoring and sharing knowledge, delivering over 30 hours of seminars to employees and students every year. As both of his parents were teachers, the passion for learning and sharing comes naturally.

Helen Greiner, Founder, CyPhy Works

Helen Greiner is Founder of CyPhy Works, a company that builds flying robots for military and industrial applications. In 1990, she co-founded iRobot Corporation [NASDAQ: IRBT] and served as President and Chairman until 2008.  iRobot Corporation is the most successful mobile robot company in the world with more than 15 million  Roomba ™ vacuuming robots delivered to date.  Recently Endeavor Robotics was spun out of iRobot to focus on the military market with the PackBot ™ and SUGV ™ tactical mobile robots.  

Ms. Greiner received a BS Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science both from MIT and honorary Phds from both WPI and Clarkson.  She has been honored as a demo god, best leader, pioneer, global leader of tomorrow, young global leader, entrepreneur of the year, innovator of the next century, national academy member, presidential advisor, and good housekeeper! 

Watch Helen's GoFly Master Lecture on Robotics

Dr. Irene M. Gregory, Senior Technologist for Advanced Control Theory and Applications, NASA

Dr. Irene M. Gregory is NASA Senior Technologist (ST) for Advanced Control Theory and Applications. Her current interests are in the areas of robust autonomous systems, self-aware vehicle intelligent contingency management, acoustically-aware vehicles, and resilient control for advanced, unconventional configurations with particular focus on Urban Air Mobility. Previously, Dr. Gregory’s research spanned all flight regimes from low subsonic to hypersonic speeds, and included advanced control for aircraft and launch vehicles, aeroelasticity, fluidic control effectors, and autonomous vehicles.  Her research has been documented in over 100 technical publications in peer-reviewed journals and conferences, invited lectures and presentations. 

Dr. Gregory earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Doctorate in Control and Dynamic Systems from California Institute of Technology. She is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA, a member of IEEE and IFAC, serves on IEEE Control Systems Society Aerospace Control Technical Committee and on IFAC Aerospace Control Technical Committee. She is an emeritus member of the AIAA Guidance, Navigation and Control Technical Committee and a former member of the AIAA Intelligent Systems Technical Committee.

Tess Hatch

Tess is an investor in Bessemer Venture Partners' Silicon Valley office. She is focused on frontier tech, specifically commercial space, cyber security, and drones. She currently serves as board observer for Iris Automation, Rocket Lab, Spire, Auth0, Endgame, Distil Networks, Team8, Virtru, Claroty, CyberGRX, and Illusive Networks.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan (go blue!) and a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics engineering from Stanford (go trees!). She was a mission manager at SpaceX where she worked with the government on integrating their payloads with the Falcon9 rocket. She also worked at Fictiv, a startup using 3D printing and CNC machining to democratize access to manufacturing.

Watch Tess’s Master Lecture: Pitching to VC’s


Mike Hirschberg, Executive Director, Vertical Flight Society

Mike Hirschberg assumed the duties of the Vertical Flight Society Executive Director on June 1, 2011, after 20 years in the aerospace industry, primarily in vertical flight. As the Executive Director, he is responsible for the execution of the strategic direction set by the VFS Board of Directors.

He was previously a principal aerospace engineer with CENTRA Technology, Inc., providing technical and program management support for over 10 years to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Office of Naval Research (ONR) on advanced aircraft and rotorcraft concepts. Prior to this, Mr. Hirschberg worked from 1994 to 2001 in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program Office, supporting the development of the X-32 and X-35 vertical flight propulsion systems.

Mike  is an internationally-known lecturer,  and is the author/co-author of more than 100 publications on helicopter, V/STOL and advanced aircraft developments, including three books. He holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia and a M.E. Mechanical Engineering from Catholic University of America. He completed a Master of Business Administration at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University and is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS).

Watch Mike’s Master Lecture on Vertical Flight Technical Resources

Lori Hoberman, Founder, Hoberman Law Group

Lori S. Hoberman is a well-known force in the in the New York City venture community. As a lawyer and mentor, she advises entrepreneurs and their investors on how to build successful businesses and strategically guides them through the emerging, later stages and exits of their companies.  Lori works with clients in a range of industries, including software, mobile, biotechnology, AI, fintech, insurtech, fashion, e-commerce, consumer products and advertising.  She also counsels angel and institutional investors in their investments and in the formation of investment funds.

Lori was a co-founder of mobile advertising company, Mojiva Inc., and is an angel investor. She is a frequent speaker and media resource on entrepreneurialism. She is a Mentor to 37 Angels, serves as an Advisor to the Queens College Tech Incubator and formerly chaired the NYC Chapter of the MIT Enterprise Forum.  After years of running the venture practices in several New York City law firms, Lori launched The Hoberman Law Group in the fall of 2014.  As the Huffington Post headlined, “A New York Lawyer Popular with Entrepreneurs Becomes one Herself.”

Watch Lori's GoFly Master Lecture on How to Start Up Successfully

Emily Howard, Senior Technical Fellow at Boeing

Dr. Emily Howard is a Senior Technical Fellow within the Engineering Home Office in Boeing Defense, Space & Security, and currently the lead for applying sociotechnical analyses in complex systems, ensuring effective interaction among hardware, software, people, tools and processes. Dr. Howard specializes in human information processing, perception and cognition. She has worked across the company on projects for both Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Defense, Space & Security. Dr. Howard is also Chair of the Boeing Technical Fellowship and responsible for identifying and developing opportunities to grow and strengthen the Fellowship program. Dr. Howard earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Franklin & Marshall University, and a master’s and PhD in cognitive psychology, both from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Geoff Hunt, Senior Vice President of Engineering, Pratt & Whitney

Geoff Hunt is senior vice president of Engineering at Pratt & Whitney. He leads Pratt & Whitney's global Engineering team, with a focus on delivering customer requirements, developing technical leadership and advancing technology development programs that will support the next generation of commercial and military engines.

Hunt’s 34-year career in the aerospace industry has included leading roles in the development of landmark products, primarily in the area of large commercial aircraft. He was most recently vice president, Engineering & Technology, for UTC Aerospace Systems. In this position, Hunt led product development programs to ensure UTC Aerospace Systems continued to offer differentiating technologies to meet customer needs, as well as ensuring flawless Engineering program execution by leading the implementation of best practice processes, tools and resources across the enterprise.

Hunt began his career as an engineer at Rolls-Royce, where he spent 13 years working on large commercial engine development programs before joining United Technologies. His past 20 years of experience include roles of increasing responsibility in Engineering and program management at both Pratt & Whitney and UTC Aerospace Systems, where he provided leadership across a large range of products and platforms, including product development, system integration and program execution for the 787 Dreamliner.

Hunt holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Sheffield University, England, and an MBA from Boston University. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Greg Hyslop, Chief Technology Officer, The Boeing Company; Senior Vice President, Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology

Dr. Greg Hyslop is the chief technology officer of The Boeing Company and senior vice president of Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology. Hyslop oversees the development and implementation of the enterprise technology investment strategy, and his portfolio of responsibilities includes the companywide Boeing Engineering function; Boeing Research & Technology (BR&T), the company’s advanced central research and development organization; Boeing Test & Evaluation (BT&E), the team that verifies and validates Boeing’s commercial and defense products; and the Intellectual Property Management organization, which works to protect and strategically leverage the company’s intellectual property.

In his role leading the Engineering function, which includes more than 50,000 engineers around the world, Hyslop partners with the Engineering leaders for Boeing business units to ensure One Boeing solutions that support programs across the enterprise. He also plays a key role in decisions that affect the technical integrity of Boeing products, services and processes.

Watch Dr. Hyslop's Master Lecture about The GoFly Vision

Colonel John W. Jones, Commander, US Army Redstone Test Center

Colonel John W. Jones serves as the commander of the US Army Redstone Test Center, where he directs a 1,300 person workforce of military, Army civilians and contractors conducting developmental testing on a portfolio of rockets and missiles, with 28 years of service as an Army aviator. He has actively conducted experimental flight test for 8 years. In 1990 he was commissioned from the US Military Academy with a BS in Computer Science. He also has a MA from Webster University in Procurement and Acquisition Management, and a MS from Air War College in Strategic Studies.

Colonel Jones’ has received a number of awards and badges including, the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, The Army Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), Army Commendation Medal (with three oak leaf clusters), Army Achievement Medal (with oak leaf cluster) and Overseas Service Medal (four awards). He is also a Master Aviator qualified in the CH-47D/F, TH-6, UH-1H, C-12C/D, and UH-60A/L/M, and UH-72A.

Watch John’s Master Lecture on Risk Reduction During Testing

Bruce Kay, Sikorsky Tech Fellow for Air Vehicle Design (retired), The Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation

Bruce Kay was responsible for changing the paradigm that helicopter airframes had to be metal. He conducted requisite R&D and then become Chief Engineer for the world’s first composite airframe helicopter, the Sikorsky S-75 (ACAP). Subsequently, he was appointed Chief of Design for the Comanche helicopter, and managed several IPTs. Following first flight, he returned to research and managed Sikorsky’s advanced airframe R&D. This included pioneering applications for advanced design concepts, analysis, producibility, and software simulation tools. He retired as a Sikorsky Tech Fellow for Air Vehicle design. The AHS also awarded him Fellow status.

After retirement, he consulted for Sikorsky on CH-53K technology insertion, consulted for DARPA (composites), ONR (Mantec), and aerostructure suppliers. He is currently co-authoring a book on the Comanche helicopter development. Mr. Kay received numerous recognition awards from AHS, the Army, and NASA. He has presented over 34 technical papers and holds 6 patents.

Watch Bruce's Master Lecture on Air Vehicle Design and Project Management

Dr. Bruce D. Kothmann, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science

Dr. Kothmann is a Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. He received the 2012 Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence.  He is an avid user of laboratory and interactive teaching spaces.

Before coming to Penn, Dr. Kothmann worked in the Flying Qualities group at Boeing Rotorcraft in Philadelphia.  He designed control laws for the RAH-66 Comanche, V-22 Osprey, and CH-47 Chinook.  He has been a regular invited lecturer at the US Navy Test Pilot School for more than a decade and earned his PhD from Princeton University.

Watch Dr. Kothmann's Master Lecture: Thinking Outside the Box​

Vijay Kumar, Nemirovsky Family Dean,  Penn Engineering, Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, Computer and Information Science, and Electrical and Systems Engineering, University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Kumar's group works on creating autonomous ground and aerial robots, designing bio-inspired algorithms for collective behaviors, and on robot swarms. Kumar is a fellow of ASME and IEEE and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He received his Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1987. He has been on the Faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics with a secondary appointment in the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania since 1987. Dr. Kumar has held many administrative positions in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, including director of the GRASP Laboratory, chair of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, and the position of the Deputy Dean. Additionally, he served as the assistant director of robotics and cyber physical systems at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Watch Dr. Kumar's Master Lecture: Thinking Outside the Box​

Peter Kunz, Chief Technologist, Boeing HorizonX and Boeing NeXt

Pete Kunz is chief technologist for two organizations that are shaping the future for Boeing and the aerospace industry. Boeing HorizonX explores opportunities through strategy and experimentation with business models for emerging aerospace applications, leveraging nontraditional partnerships and a venture fund that invests in early-stage startups focused on aerospace and industrial innovations. Boeing NeXt builds and incubates new mobility solutions and the next-generation ecosystem that will bring flight closer to home.

Kunz is responsible for all engineering efforts, coordinates and contributes to technical due diligence, and supports strategy development. He also serves as a liaison to Boeing Research & Technology and the broader Boeing technical community.

Kunz’s broad background in aerospace engineering includes formal training and practical experience in various aspects of the analysis, design and testing of unmanned flight vehicles, and field experience with the rapid real-world evaluation of new technologies and prototypes.

Kunz has a doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University, as well as master’s and bachelor’s degrees in aerospace engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

John S. Langford, Chairman and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation

John Langford is the President and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, which he founded in 1989.  Aurora uses autonomy and robotics to develop advanced aircraft and was acquired by The Boeing Company in 2017. Dr. Langford is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and serves as President of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).  He received his Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics (1979), Masters in Aeronautics & Astronautics (1984), Masters in Defense Policy (1983), and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Public Policy (1987) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Watch Dr. Langford’s GoFly Master Lecture on the Power of Autonomy in On-Demand Mobility

Earl Lawrence, Director, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Office

Earl Lawrence is the Director of the UAS Integration Office and is responsible for the facilitation of all regulations, policies, and procedures required to support FAA’s UAS integration efforts. He also represents the FAA on the Senior Steering Group of the UAS Executive Committee, focusing on coordination and alignment of efforts among key federal government agencies.

He previously served as the Manager of the FAA’s Small Airplane Directorate and was the designated executive focal for unmanned aircraft systems within the Aircraft Certification Service. Prior to joining the FAA, Earl was the vice president of industry and regulatory affairs for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). He has also worked for Rockwell Rocketdyne, first as a rocket engine mechanic and then as a manufacturing engineer on the International Space Station.

Earl has served as a board member of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association and on the ASTM International Board of Directors, and was the founding chairman of the ASTM International Committee F37 on Light Sport Aircraft. He received the 2003 Robert J. Painter Memorial Award from the Standards Engineering Society for his standards work for Light Sport Aircraft. Earl holds a commercial multi-engine pilot certificate as well as an airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate with an Inspection Authorization. He is a graduate of Northrop University in Los Angeles.

Watch Earl's Master Lecture on The Regulatory Environment

Dr. William Lewis, Director for Aviation Development, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development & Engineering Center, Redstone Arsenal, AL

Dr. William D. Lewis was selected for the Senior Executive Service in July 2006. The Director for Aviation Development manages and directs the execution of the Aviation Science and Technology Program including basic research (6.1), applied research (6.2), and advanced technology development (6.3). He provides direct leadership of the Aviation Applied Technology Directorate, the Aero Flight Dynamics Directorate and the Aviation Systems Integration Facility. He is responsible for the success of the Army's multi-million dollar aviation science and technology program and is the Office of the Secretary of Defense lead for rotorcraft technology. The aviation science and technology funding averages $100M to $150M per year in the current Program Objective Memorandum and involves all efforts directed towards development of material for new or improved Army rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft including Unmanned Aerial Systems. He also serves as the Director of the National Rotorcraft Technology Center and as such represents the Army in the development, approval and execution of programs conducted by the Vertical Lift Consortium and the Vertical Lift Centers of Excellence.

Watch Dr. Lewis' GoFly Master Lecture on Aircraft Safety & Reliability

Kristin Little, Associate Technical Fellow, Crew Systems & Human Factors, The Boeing Company

J. Kristin Little is an Associate Technical Fellow with The Boeing Company with expertise in Human Systems Integration design, development and testing.  Ms. Little specializes in crew interfaces and the area of Controls and Displays Design, and is the Crew Systems Lead for Boeing’s AH-6 helicopter.  Ms. Little provides human factors consultation and technical support to Boeing Defense and Space Programs such as the Apache, Starliner, B-52 Aircraft Modernization, Tankers, and other proprietary programs.  Kristin is a member of Boeing’s Lighting and Display Optics Community of Excellence Steering Committee, and SAE’s G45 Human Systems Integration Technical Committee.  She is one of the authors of the SAE Standard AS6909 “Human Systems Integration.”  Previously, she has been Human Factors and MANPRINT Lead for the Future Combat System/Brigade Combat Team Modernization’s Lead System Integrator, and was the Controls and Displays Technical Lead within the Crew Systems team for the Apache Longbow helicopter glass cockpit upgrade from the original A-model Apache through the Muliti-year II program phases.  Ms. Little has received awards for her work on these projects including Boeing Military Aircraft Vertical Lift Division Engineering Excellence Team Award, McDonnell Aircraft and Missile Systems Quality Achievement Award, McDonnell Douglas Teammate of Distinction Award, and has been recognized as an Apache Longbow Honorary Test Pilot.  In addition to these Boeing awards, she received an AH-6i Excellence Award from the US Army customer, and the US Army identified the Apache Longbow controls and displays as an “Enhancing Characteristic.”  Ms. Little is a Boeing Inventor with a patent in Vertical Navigation Information Presentation on a Digital Moving Map, and has more than 60 publications.  She is a member of the American Helicopter Society, International (AHS) Technical Council as Deputy Director Systems Integration, has served as Crew Stations and Human Factors Technical Committee and Forum Technical Session Chairs, and is the President of AHS’s Arizona Chapter.   Ms. Little graduated Cum Laude from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Bioengineering.

Raja Maharajh, Vice President and General Counsel, Pratt & Whitney

Raja Maharajh is Pratt & Whitney's vice president and general counsel, responsible for leading Pratt & Whitney's Legal Services team with overall responsibility for the company's legal matters, as well as contracts, corporate ethics, government compliance and government security.

Raja brings more than 20 years of legal and engineering experience to this role. He has held a number of positions of increasing responsibility since joining the UTC Legal department in 2004. Prior to being named to his current position in November 2016, Raja was the vice president and counsel for Pratt & Whitney's large commercial engines business.

Prior to joining UTC, Raja was an associate at Bazerman & Drangel in New York and held positions in engineering at Madame Alexander Doll Company in New York City and Maidenform, Inc. in New Jersey. Raja holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and received his Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall University.

Watch Raja’s Master Lecture on Legal Guidance to Protecting Your IP and Sensitive Technologies.

Jim Murray, Partner, PJT Partners

Jim Murray is a Partner at PJT Partners, having joined the firm in August of 2014. Over the past two decades, Murray has established durable relationships with senior executives at wireless carriers, mobile device manufacturers, satellite communications ventures, aerospace and automotive primes, remote sensing providers, media conglomerates, and major Internet companies in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Murray has built a broad network of contacts in the venture capital community that fuels ongoing technology and business model innovation in these industries. Murray consults frequently with regulators and lobbyists in Washington who influence the evolution of mobile technology. Murray has led advisory teams on public and private company mergers, leveraged buyouts, special committee assignments, and corporate restructurings. Over the course of his career, he has accumulated extensive public and private capital markets experience, helping clients raise over $150Bn in investment grade and non-investment grade bank debt, bond, and equity capital. Murray has advised on the successful IPOs of numerous TMT companies on the NYSE, NASDAQ, and LSE. Murray spent 14 years at Morgan Stanley in New York and Chicago, where as a Managing Director he was responsible for coordinating the firm’s relationships globally with the satellite and wireless industries. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Murray spent 5 years at Monitor Company, a strategy consulting firm. Based in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Boston, Murray focused on corporate strategy, competitive intelligence, supply chain optimization, brand marketing, and point-of-sale activation for consumer goods companies. Murray also worked closely with global telecom firms on market entry alternatives, with an emphasis on the then-emerging economics of wireless technologies and spectrum auction strategy. Murray received an AB in Government, magna cum laude, from Harvard College and studied International Relations and Economics at the London School of Economics.

Watch Jim's GoFly Master Lecture: Venture Capitalists

Dr. Douglas Nark, Senior Research Scientist, NASA Langley Research Center

Dr. Nark serves as the NASA Langley Technical Lead for Acoustics for the NASA Advanced Air Transport Technology Project of the Advanced Air Vehicles Program. Dr. Nark also leads the development, distribution, and in-house utilization of the ducted fan noise propagation and radiation code CDUCT-LaRC. He is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and currently serves as a member of the AIAA Aeroacoustics Technical Committee.  He is inventor/co-inventor on four patents and author/co-author of over 45 journal and conference publications. He received his Bachelor's degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and his Doctorate degree in Mechanical Engineering (Concentration: Aeroacoustics) and Master's degree in Aeroacoustics from The George Washington University.

Watch Dr. Nark's GoFly Master Lecture on Rotary-Wing Noise

David Neely, Chief Engineer for Boeing NeXt Cargo Air Vehicle Program

David Neely has been with The Boeing Company 14 years. He is currently the Chief Engineer for Boeing NeXt Cargo Air Vehicle Program. Prior to that role he was a Senior Manager in Phantom Works for the Integration of Advanced Operations and Quality. He was the IPT manager for 777x rudder/elevator prior to that assignment. David also served as the F-15 IPT wing manager supporting new development, production, flight test, fatigue test and fleet sustainment. David was a TLE for the external MRB support team prior to moving into management. He has also served as an F-15 Singapore Plane Captain, subsystems support in F-15 center install, an MRB engineer and structural analyst. He has a BS in Mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri- Rolla and a MBA from Washington University.

Watch David’s Master Lecture on Prioritizing Safety to Allow for Rapid Development and Learning

Dan Newman, Senior Technical Fellow, Configuration Development; Chief Engineer, Phantom Works - Rotary Wing Aircraft, Defense Space & Security; The Boeing Company

Dan Newman is a Senior Technical Fellow of The Boeing Company in aircraft configuration design and development.  He serves as the Chief Engineer for vertical lift aircraft research and development, and supports Commercial Airplane Product Development. He previously served as a Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), as the Technical Director of the AHS International vertical flight technical society, and as an Adjunct Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.  He received his Masters in Aerospace Engineering from the Rotorcraft Center of Excellence at the University of Maryland, and his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University.


Watch Dan's Master Lecture on Rotary-wing Aircraft Configuration Design

Joe Nickerson, Flying Qualities Manager and Associate Technical Fellow, Boeing Vertical Lift

Joe Nickerson has experience in handing qualities, wind tunnel testing, and aeronautical engineering. Joe attended the University of Notre Dame and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has worked on a number of rotorcraft including the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, and the Comanche and Chinook helicopters.

Watch Joe’s Master Lecture on Designing for Stability and Control.

Steve Nordlund, Vice President and General Manager, Boeing NeXt

Steve Nordlund is vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt, a business division building the ecosystem that will define the future of urban, regional and global mobility. Boeing NeXt is driving the company’s approach to next-generation airspace management and global airspace integration, working with regulatory agencies and industry partners to ensure a future where autonomous and piloted air vehicles safely coexist. Nordlund oversees the development of Boeing’s next-generation mobility platforms - a portfolio that includes cargo and passenger air vehicles and passenger-carrying hypersonic aircraft.

Since joining Boeing in 2009, Nordlund has held business development, business line and strategy leadership positions across the enterprise, including his role as vice president of Autonomous Systems for Boeing Defense, Space & Security. Most recently, he was vice president of Boeing HorizonX, a strategy organization that experiments with business models for emerging aerospace applications, leveraging nontraditional partnerships and a venture fund that invests in early-stage startups.

Nordlund previously served as the director of Business Intelligence and New Business Opportunities for Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ Business Development and Strategic Integration group. He has also led business development activities for multiple military aircraft programs.

His market development experience includes an early-stage role launching Insitu, Inc. and shaping the market for the ScanEagle and Integrator unmanned aerial systems. Prior to joining the aerospace and defense industry, Nordlund held sales and marketing positions at IBM and was the chief information officer for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Nordlund is chairman of the Board of Directors of SparkCognition, an artificial intelligence and machine learning technology leader based in Austin, Texas. He is also on the Board of Trustees of Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida and of Whitfield, a private independent school in St. Louis, Missouri.

Nordlund has a Bachelor of Science degree in aviation management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida. He is a licensed pilot and is involved in volunteer work related to non-profit educational organizations.

Frank Occhiuti, IP Lawyer and Co-Founder Partner of Occhiuti & Rohlicek LLP

Frank is a highly accomplished intellectual property lawyer, with a specialized focus on building robust patent portfolios for global high-tech companies.  In the field of aerospace, Frank has helped companies and universities build portfolios relating to aerospace technology including aircraft fuselage manufacture and drone flight.  Prior to founding Occhiuti & Rohlicek LLP, Frank was a principal at Fish & Richardson P.C., a global intellectual property law firm, where he developed and managed the patent holdings for a diverse range of companies and technologies and counseled clients on complex patent and trade secret issues.  Prior to joining Fish & Richardson P.C., Frank worked at Raytheon Company in their patent department.  Prior to his law career, Frank worked for more than a decade as an electrical engineer in the defense electronics industry, focusing primarily in designing and developing sophisticated high frequency communications aboard large-scale defense systems.  He holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University. He has lectured internationally on patent portfolio building.  He is a longstanding member of IEEE and a member of Northeastern University’s Industrial Advisory Committee.

Watch Frank's Master Lecture on Protecting Your Inventions with Patents

Bob Parks, Technical Fellow, Aurora Flight Sciences, A Boeing Company

Bob is currently a Technical Fellow at Aurora Flight Sciences, a subsidiary of Boeing. He mainly works on the design of non-traditional aircraft, including subscale and full scale prototyping. He has been working on VTOL aircraft professionally for 20 years, but has also worked on Mars aircraft, solar aircraft, submersible aircraft and even a few conventional aircraft.

Prior to his present job, he was a Senior Engineer at zee.aero (now called KittyHawk and Cora), working on manned electric VTOL aircraft. Prior to that he was Chief Aircraft Designer for Aurora Flight Sciences. He has also worked as a designer on the Lockheed F-117 and as a consultant. He was a principal designer on the MIT Chrysalis, Light Eagle and Daedalus human powered aircraft.

He first got interested in ducted fan propulsion for model aircraft over 50 years ago. His first attempt was remarkably unsuccessful. Things have gotten a lot better since then!

Bob has a Bachelors degree in Aeronautical Engineering from MIT and a Masters degree, also in Aero, from Stanford. He currently holds 21 patents. He is a veteran of the US Coast Guard and an Associate Fellow in the AIAA.

Watch Bob’s Master Lecture on Ducted Fans for Hover and Cruise.

Darryll J. Pines, Dean, Clark School of Engineering; Professor of Aerospace Engineering

Dr. Darryll J. Pines currently serves as the Nariman Farvardin Professor of Engineering and Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. In addition, Pines served as the 2015 chair of the National Academy of Engineering-NAE Frontiers in Engineering Education-FOEE Symposium which recognizes faculty from around the United States for their innovations in engineering education. At $141 million, the school's research expenditures are at a record high, and the school was ranked as high as 11th worldwide in 2011 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, which focuses on research citations, and as high as 17th in the US News and World Report Graduate Rankings. He is the co-author of over 70 journal articles, three edited book volumes, eight book chapters, and 150 conference papers. Dr. Pines also is the holder of 7 co-authored Patents with his students and collaborators.

Watch Dr. Pines' Master Lecture on Fearless Ideas - The Gamera Project

Christina Polaski, Global Social Media Manager, Pratt & Whitney

Christina Polaski leads Pratt & Whitney’s global social media and audience engagement strategy across LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in support of key business objectives, including product positioning, recruiting and growing brand awareness and affinity. Prior to joining Pratt & Whitney, Christina led social media at B2B technology companies Carbonite and Progress Software. Christina is the recipient of a PR Daily Award for Best Event Marketing and a Gold Bell Ringer Award for Best Product/Service Launch. She holds a M.S. in Public Relations from Boston University and a B.A. in Communication from Western New England University.

Watch Christina’s Master Lecture on Social Media: Platform, Metrics, and Content.

Boris Popov, Founder, BRS Aerospace Inc.

Boris Popov founded BRS in 1981, and is currently the Director / Senior Vice President of Sales. He was born in Munich, Germany, and immigrated to the United States in 1949 through Ellis Island. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s in Economics and a minor in Aeronautical Engineering in IT. He holds rating as a Private Pilot and FAA Ground instructor and in Sailplanes, Hang-Gliding, and Floatplanes. He has received many awards over the past years, including the 1986 Lycoming Aviation Safety Award, the 2005 Aviation Week & Space Technology Laureate Award, the 2010 Sperry Award, the 2015 Flieger Magazine Award, and the 2017 NALL Award. He has also been inducted into the 2000 EAA Ultralight Hall of Fame, the 2005 Space Hall of Fame, and the 2016 Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame.

Watch Boris' Master Lecture on Maximizing Ballistic Parachute Capability in VTOL Flight

Will Porteous, General Partner, RRE Ventures

Will works with media and hardware companies primarily. He is a Director of BuzzFeed, Paperless Post, Spaceflight, and Spire. He is a former Director of Whiptail Technologies (acquired by CSCO), Frictionless Commerce (acquired by SAP), Skyhook Wireless (acquired by Liberty Media), Tacit Network (acquired by PKTR), and Xobni (acquired by Yahoo!). Will is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia Business School and the Chairman of the Dockery Farms Foundation, which he founded.

Before entering the venture capital industry, Will held senior management positions with SupplyWorks and NetMarket, the e-commerce pioneer now owned by Cendant Corp. Will holds an MBA from Harvard University, an MSC from the London School of Economics, and a BA with Honors from Stanford University, where he served as Captain of the Varsity Crew.

Watch Will's Master Lecture on The Aerospace Funding Landscape

Dr. Daniel P. Raymer, President, Conceptual Research Corporation

Dr. Daniel P. Raymer is President of the design and consulting company, Conceptual Research Corporation. An AIAA Fellow and recipient of the prestigious AIAA Aircraft Design Award, he is recognized world-wide as an expert in Aerospace Vehicle Design and Configuration Layout, Computer-aided Design Methodologies and Design Education.

His career includes positions as Director-Advanced Design with Lockheed, Director-Future Missions at the Aerojet Propulsion Research Institute, and Project Manager-Engineering at Rockwell North American Aviation. During his 10 years at Rockwell, he conceived and did the layout design of Rockwell's entries in what became the F-22, B-2, and T-45 programs, and was Head of Air Vehicle Design for the X-31.


Dr. Raymer is the author of the world's best-selling book on aircraft design, and teaches aircraft advanced design methods around the world. He received B.S. and M.S. engineering degrees in Astronautics and Aeronautics from Purdue, an MBA from the University of Southern California, and a Doctorate of Engineering (Ph.D.) from the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).

Watch Dr. Raymer's GoFly Master Lecture on Aircraft Conceptual Design

Dr. Stephen A. Rizzi, Senior Researcher for Aeroacoustics, NASA Langley Research Center

Dr. Stephen Rizzi leads NASA’s Perception-Influenced Design effort to develop revolutionary tools and methods for low noise design of transformative air vehicles.  He and his team support several NASA and industry projects, including the NASA Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology, Convergent Aeronautics Solutions, Transformational Tools and Technologies, and the Environmentally Responsible Aviation projects.  He is recipient of the 2015 NASA Exceptional Service Medal for "sustained and exceptional contributions to the acoustics discipline."  He is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the AIAA Aeroacoustics Technical Committee and as a member of the Transformational Flight Integration Committee.  He is author/co-author of over 130 journal and conference publications.  He received his BS in Aerospace Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his MS and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University.

Watch Dr. Rizzi's GoFly Master Lecture on Rotary-Wing Noise

Dr. Kenneth M. Rosen, President, General Aero-Science Consultants, LLC

Dr. Rosen has over fifty five years of experience in the aerospace, propulsion, turbomachinery, manufacturing, and systems engineering community. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and is a Fellow of the AIAA, AHS, ASME and Royal Aero Society.

Dr. Rosen has served as VP Research & Engineering at Sikorsky Aircraft, Corporate President of Concepts/ NREC, Chairman of the Board of the Rotorcraft Industry Technology Association, Chairman of the UTC Engineering Coordination Steering Committee, Chairman of the AIA Rotorcraft Advisory Group and as a member of NASA’s Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology Advisory Committee. He is a recipient of both the AHS Klemin Award and the Nikolsky Lectureship. Dr. Rosen is currently an active member of the Board of Army Sciences and the the NRC Assessment Panel on Air and Ground Vehicle Technology for the ARL. Dr. Rosen holds five US patents and has written numerous papers in the fields of helicopter design, tilt rotor optimization, product development, propulsion, aerothermodynamics, icing, and systems engineering.

Watch Dr. Rosen's GoFly Master Lecture: VTOL Aircraft are VERY hard: Turning Lessons Observed into Lessons Learned​

Suna Said, Founder and CEO, Nima Capital.

Suna Said is the Founder and CEO of Nima Capital, a single family office with a flexible mandate to invest across various capital structures, growth stages, and industries. Prior to founding Nima, Suna was an Executive Director and Investment Officer of Unifund, Inc., a multi-billion dollar international investment firm.

Suna currently serves on the board of directors of Rubicon Global and was previously a director of ONEHOPE, where she served as Vice Chairwoman. She is also an Advisor to 8VC.

Suna currently serves on the boards of Girls Inc., the Chopra Foundation, as well as Pure Edge, Inc. She is also on the Board of Trustees for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Suna holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Brian Schettler, Managing Director, Boeing HorizonX Ventures

Brian Schettler is managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. Schettler leads the Boeing venture capital team chartered with investing in selected startups throughout the world. His team identifies and pursues opportunities to make strategic investments in startup companies with discriminating and disruptive technologies for next-generation applications.

Schettler has more than 17 years of experience in aerospace, technology, and defense companies in areas of corporate and business strategy, mergers and acquisitions, business development, and product portfolio management. Most recently at Boeing, he was senior strategist for Boeing Military Aircraft, where he led mergers and acquisitions, business strategy, and partnership development in Silicon Valley and beyond. He also served as a strategist for Phantom Works, where he partnered with Boeing Research & Technology to build development strategies for new technologies and products while also building product and market strategies for new platforms and concepts.

Schettler holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Northwestern University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland. He has completed executive education courses at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and has certifications from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. 


Watch Brian’s Master Lecture on Attracting Startup Capital from Corporate Venture Capital Units

Dr. Jaiwon Shin

Dr. Jaiwon Shin is the NASA Associate Administrator for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. In this position, he manages the agency's aeronautics research portfolio and guides its strategic direction. This portfolio includes research in the fundamental aeronautics of flight, aviation safety and the nation's airspace system.

Shin co-chairs the National Science & Technology Council's Aeronautics Science & Technology Subcommittee. Comprised of federal departments and agencies that fund aeronautics-related research, the subcommittee wrote the nation's first presidential policy for aeronautics research and development (R&D). The policy was established by Executive Order 13419 in December 2006 and will guide U.S. aeronautics R&D programs through 2020. The subcommittee finished writing the National Aeronautics R&D Plan in December 2007 and is currently writing the Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) Infrastructure Plan both of which were called for by the Executive Order.

Between May 2004 and January 2008, Shin served as deputy associate administrator for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate where he was instrumental in restructuring NASA's aeronautics program to focus on fundamental research and better align with the nation's Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).

Prior to coming to work at NASA Headquarters, Shin served as chief of the Aeronautics Projects Office at NASA's Glenn Research Center. In this position he had management responsibility for all of the center's aeronautics projects. Prior to this he was Glenn's deputy director of aeronautics, where he provided executive leadership for the planning and implementation of Glenn's aeronautics program, and interfaced with NASA Headquarters, other NASA centers, and external customers to explore and develop technologies in aeropropulsion, aviation safety and security, and airspace systems.

Between 1998 and 2002, Shin served as chief of the Aviation Safety Program Office, as well as the deputy program manager for NASA's Aviation Safety Program and Airspace Systems Program. He assisted both program directors in planning and research management.

Dr. Shin received his doctorate in mechanical engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia. His bachelor's degree is from Yonsei University in Korea and his master's degree is in mechanical engineering from the California State University, Long Beach. His honors include NASA's Outstanding Leadership Medal, NASA's Exceptional Service Medal, a NASA Group Achievement Award, Lewis Superior Accomplishment Award, three Lewis Group Achievement Awards, and an Air Force Team Award. He is a graduate of the Senior Executive Fellowship Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has extensive experience in high speed research and icing, and has authored or co-authored more than 20 technical and journal papers.

Dr. Arvind Sinha, Director of Engineering, Helicopter Systems Division, Australian Department of Defence​

Dr Arvind K. Sinha has a service record of 42 years, which includes defence forces/establishments, industry and academic institutions. He has several qualifications (Science, Engineering, Technology and Business), scholarships (academic & industrial), awards (military & non military), industrial research projects, research papers, technical reports and invited public presentations to credit. He has held wide positions: Specialist Advisor, Senior Researcher, Manager & Director, and Officer Commanding of Military units in Operation. Sinha holds Two Undergraduate Degrees (Science and Engineering), Three Post-graduate Degrees (Electronics Engineering, Aerospace Technology and Business Administration) and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering – Multi-mission helicopter design.

Watch Dr. Sinha's GoFly Master Lecture on Aircraft Optimization

Marc Sheffler, Chairman, Board of Trustees, of the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center

Marc Sheffler is the Chairman, Board of Trustees, of the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center in West Chester, PA. He retired from The Boeing Company in 2011 after 38 years of service, most recently as Chief Technology Integrator for Boeing Advanced Mobility, representing rotorcraft. He also chaired the Rotorcraft Technology Strategy team and was the Boeing representative to the National Rotorcraft Technology Center/Vertical Lift Consortium’s Technical Advisory Council.

Previously, he served at various Boeing sites as Director of Engineering, Director of Integrated Product Teams for the Apache Program, and Director of Research and Technology. He was Analysis and Integration team lead on the RAH-66 Comanche Program and Boeing’s Principal Dynamicist on the V-22 Osprey.

Marc graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, and Widnener University with an MS in Engineering Mechanics and Engineering Management. He served as the Boeing Executive Focal for Virginia Tech, is a current member of the College of Engineering’s Committee of 100 and is past Chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board. He was awarded the Virginia Tech 2009 Distinguished Service Award and in 2016 was named to the inaugural class of the Academy of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Excellence.

Marc is a Fellow of the American Helicopter Society International and Ex-Officio Technical Chairman. He serves on the Board of Directors of JDRF (formerly Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).

Dr. Marilyn Smith, Associate Director, Vertical Lift Center of Excellence
Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Smith received her PhD from Georgia Tech in 1994 while working in industry from 1982 to 1997.  She joined the School of Aerospace Engineering in 1997, and is currently a full professor and Associate Director of the Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence (VLRCOE). Dr. Smith performs research in the areas of non-linear computational aeroelasticity (using CFD) and the integrated multidisciplinary areas of unsteady aerodynamics and acoustic/fluid/structure interactions across rotating and fixed wing vehicles and systems.  Her recent research also includes award-winning development of nonlinear reduced-order models for design and modeling and simulation.  Her research sponsors include all branches of the DoD, NASA, DoE, ARO, ONR, and NSF, as well as industry. She was named a Fellow of the AIAA and a Technical Fellow of the American Helicopter Society (AHS) for her research in these areas, where she has authored or co-authored more than 200 publications.  She has won the AHS Agusta-Westland International Fellowship Award twice and a NASA  Group Achievement Award for her research in rotorcraft.  She is a board member of the AHS, and associate editor of the AIAA Journal, Journal of Fluids and Structures, and Aeronautical Journal.

Watch Dr. Smith's Lecture on Rotary-Wing Aerodynamics Analysis

Watch Marilyn’s Master Lecture on Vertical Flight Technical Resources

Royce Snider, Associate administrator and Acoustical Unit Member; Bell Organization Designation Authorization (ODA), Civil Certification – Innovation

Royce Snider is an Associate administrator of the Bell ODA and the Unit Member delegated to recommend FAA Acoustical regulatory approval for Bell products. He serves as a consultant for Bell programs, represents the company on the ICAO / CAEP Working Group 1 for the maintenance of international aircraft noise standards, and is responsible to assist the development of regulations for Innovation products including UAS package delivery and Air Taxis. He previously served as Program Manager for the NASA/Bell Tiltrotor Test Rig and Chair of the Acoustics Technical Committee of the AHS International vertical flight technical society. Royce has authored multiple technical papers and was recognized with the Best Acoustics technical paper in 2013 at AHS International Forum 69. He received his Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from The George Washington University of Washington, DC, and his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

Royce is a proud husband and father currently residing in Haslet, TX, with a passion for missions through his local Church and avid runner and biker. Please share the road.

Dr. Patricia Stevens, MH-139 Program Manager and Manager, Boeing Phantom Works Rotary Wing Technology

Dr. Patty Stevens is the MH-139 program in Boeing Vertical Lift, based in Philadelphia. She is also the Senior Manager of Boeing Phantom Works Rotary Wing Technology Programs, which develops the advanced technologies, configurations, and prototypes to promote Vertical Lift growth into the next decades. In her Phantom Works role, Dr. Stevens manages the R&D portfolio, leads the Vertical Lift Technology Strategy Team, and leads functional engineering for the organization. Stevens also leads the MH-139 program, Boeing’s entry in the competition to replace the U.S. Air Force UH-1N “Huey” helicopter fleet, which currently protects intercontinental ballistic missiles and transports U.S. government and security forces. Previously, Dr. Stevens served as Boeing program manager for DARPA DiscRotor, program manager for Improvised Explosive Device Defeat, lead technologist for Army Systems and technical lead for Sensors and Fire Control for the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter program. She was selected as a Boeing Associate Technical Fellow in 2003. Dr. Stevens earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering, a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering, and a PhD in mechanical and aerospace engineering, all from Pennsylvania State University. She is an active member of the American Helicopter Society, and has served on the Board of Trustees for the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center in West Chester, PA. She was appointed a Penn State Outstanding Engineering Alumna in 2010 and is currently the Boeing executive focal for Penn State. 

Tony Tether, Director of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), retired 2009

Dr. Anthony J. Tether was Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) from 2001 to his retirement in 2009. As Director, Dr. Tether was responsible for management of the Agency's projects for high-payoff, innovative research and development. In 2009, Dr. Tether re-formed The Sequoia Group (TSG) which he had founded in 1996, which serves government and industrial clients. He is on several Advisory and Corporate Boards, and is a Distinguished Fellow with the Council on Competitiveness located in Washington DC. Previously, he has held positions in the Department of Defense, on Army, Navy, and Defense Science Boards, and on the Office of National Drug Control Policy Research and Development Committee.  He is an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Life Fellow for leadership in the advancement of commercial and defense technologies, and has been distinguished with many accolades, including the National Intelligence Medal, the Department of Defense Civilian Meritorious Service Medal, the Department of Defense Outstanding Public Service Medal, and was also awarded the him the Aerospace Communications Award for aerospace communication contributions by AIAA. Dr. Tether received a Bachelor's of Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

Chris Van Buiten, Vice President of Innovation, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporations

Chris Van Buiten is the Vice President of Technology and Innovation
at Sikorsky Aircraft, where he runs the Sikorsky Innovations group
responsible for maturing next-generation technologies including X2 technology™, active rotor, and autonomy, as well as defining nextgeneration Products.
Mr. Van Buiten joined Sikorsky in 1989 where he has been engaged in the conceptual and preliminary design of Sikorsky products including the S-92® commercial transport, the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter, and the UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopter, as well as several advanced concepts.  He has served as Chief of Preliminary Design and Manager of Advanced Design and has led Sikorsky’s Strategic Planning group. Chris led Sikorsky’s acquisition of the PZL Mielec Aircraft Company in Mielec, Poland. He has also served as a Technical Fellow for Advanced System Design.

Mr. Van Buiten was a Glenn L. Martin Aerospace Scholar at the University of Maryland, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace degree in 1989. He received a Master of Science in System Design and Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Sloan School of Business in 1999.

Dr. Steven H. Walker, Acting Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Dr. Steven H. Walker is the acting director of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Prior to this assignment, he was the deputy director at DARPA from October 2012 to January 2017. Dr. Walker has more than 30 years experience in civil service and is a member of the Senior Executive Service. He has held several senior positions at DARPA, including director, deputy director, and program manager in the Tactical Technology Office. Dr. Walker served as deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for science, technology and engineering, responsible for preparing policy, guidance and advocacy for the Air Force's annual $2 billion science and technology program and managing 14,000+ military and civilian scientists and engineers. Dr. Walker is an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Fellow. He has been awarded the Presidential Rank Award, the Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service medal, and the DoD Exceptional, Meritorious, and Distinguished Civilian Service medals. He holds a Ph.D. and B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Dayton.

Dr. James Wang, Senior Vice President, Leonardo Helicopters

Dr. James Wang has held several executive leadership positions, and has more than 30 years of experience in the aerospace and defense industry.

He received his bachelor degrees in Aeronautical Engineering and in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T., and a Master degree and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland.

After completing his PhD, Dr. Wang started his career at Sikorsky Aircraft, where he was known as one of the most energetic and prolific engineers; he contributed greatly to the Comanche, Black Hawk, S-92 and the Variable Diameter Tiltrotor programs.

Dr. Wang has the rare talent to combine technical knowledge with business thinking, and bringing people to collaborate to achieve a common goal. At Sikorsky Aircraft, Dr. Wang transitioned to leading strategic business campaigns. His commitment and astute leadership led to the successful winning of two of the largest international helicopter sales contracts in history, each worth over one billion dollars. Dr. Wang has a Master degree from the M.I.T. Sloan Business School, and an Executive Business Training Diploma from the London Imperial College Business School.

In 2007, Dr. Wang joined AgustaWestland as the Vice President of Research & Development, reporting directly to the CEO. Dr. Wang created a comprehensive technology roadmap and initiated many pioneering research. In 2015, Dr. Wang was invited to become the Senior Vice President of Marketing, responsible for the global marketing strategy of all AgustaWestland helicopter products at Leonardo Helicopters.

Dr. Wang holds many patents and major international awards, including the UTC Gold Mead Award, AHS Grover Bell Award, AHS Fellow Award, and the Royal Aeronautical Society Gold Team Award. In 2013, the WIRED Magazine named Dr. Wang “the Steve Jobs of Rotorcraft” for his ability to think “out of the box” and pushing the transportation technology boundaries by inventing and designing the AgustaWestland Project Zero, the world’s first all-electric VTOL technology demonstrator aircraft.

Watch Dr. Wang's GoFly Master Lecture on Helicopter Flight Dynamics and Controls

Dan Wolf, CEO and Founder, Cape Air

Daniel A. Wolf founded Cape Air in 1989, now the largest commuter airline in the United States alongside sister airline Nantucket Airlines. He continues to stay current with his Air Transport Pilot license and regularly flies as a pilot for Cape Air.

Before founding Cape Air, a part employee-owned company, Dan managed the Chatham Municipal Airport where he also worked as a flight instructor and aircraft mechanic. In November 2010, 2012 and 2014, Dan was elected to represent Cape Cod and the Islands in the Massachusetts State Senate, where he served from 2011 through 2016.

Dan has worked as a community and union organizer in the Boston area and has served on many of the region’s most impactful non-profit and civic organizations. He received his bachelor’s in Political Philosophy at Wesleyan University and has a degree in Airframe and Power Plant Maintenance from the Quaker School of Aeronautics.

Tom Wood, Chief Technologist, Bell Helicopter

Wood has had an extensive 50 year career a Bell Helicopter where he has been a key figure in many major development programs, has contributed numerous and significant innovations to the field and has mentored at least two generations of rotary wing engineers. In his current position, Wood advises the executive leadership team on technical issues, oversees the senior technical fellow organization and the company’s research and innovation group. All his efforts are closely linked to Bell Helicopter’s military and commercial product line.

Wood’s technical involvement in programmatic roles includes a recent position as technical director for the Bell-Boeing JMR Configuration Trade Analysis contract with the U.S. Army. Additionally, in 2012 he was appointed as a member of the Aeronautics Committee of the NASA Advisory Council and was reappointed in 2014.

Among his awards are the AHS’s Howard Hughes Award in 1984, Paul E. Haueter Award in 2005, AHS Technical Fellow Award in 2010, Dr. Alexander Klemin Award in 2011, and AHS Honorary Fellow Award in 2015. Additionally, he has published an award-winning study on the loss of tail rotor effectiveness.

Mourad Yesayan

Mourad is a Principal at Paladin Capital Group. He is an investment lead for the firm’s Cyber Fund, which focuses on investing in early stage companies in the US and Europe with solutions for cyber security and digital resilience. Mourad is currently actively involved in several of Paladin’s investments including Expel, RiskSense, Ursa, RiskLens, and previously worked with Unitrends (acquired by Insight Venture Partners). Prior to joining Paladin in 2009, Mourad was VP of Finance and a corporate officer at a Nasdaq-listed leading industrial infrastructure company, where he led the build-out of the company’s financial planning and risk management functions during a period of rapid growth in operations and nearly tenfold increase in revenue to over $700 million. He also played a key role in structuring and negotiating over $500 million of equity and debt financing working with major institutional investors and a global lender syndicate. Prior to this, Mourad was a senior consultant at a boutique advisory firm focused on M&A, turnaround, and restructuring assignments for middle market clients. Mourad holds an MBA and BS in Finance from Fresno State University.

Watch Mourad’s Master Lecture on Mastering the VC Pitch

Mark Yim, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania

Mark Yim is a Professor in the Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics Department at the University of Pennsylvania.  His group designs and builds small flying robots, self-assembling structures, modular self-reconfigurable robots. Recently, his work has followed a theme of simplicity and low cost.  His other research interests include product design, reactive art and architecture, origami, snake locomotion, urban search and rescue and mobile manipulation.  Prior to Penn, he was Principal Scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center (formerly Xerox PARC).  Honors include the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (UPenn's highest teaching honor); induction as a World Technology Network Fellow; and induction to MIT's TR100 in 1999.  He has over 200 publications and patents issued (perhaps most prominent are related to the video game vibration control which resulted in over US$100 million in litigation and settlements) and has started two companies.

Watch Dr. Yim's Master Lecture: Thinking Outside the Box​

Dr. Rafi Yoeli, Founder and CEO, Urban Aeronautics Ltd.

In 2000, Dr. Rafi Yoeli established Urban Aeronautics Ltd in order to develop the world's first high performance, compact, internal-rotor, VTOL aircraft. The result is a scalable family of manned and unmanned aircraft known as ‘Fancraft™.’ The flagship, unmanned Cormorant is currently in flight testing.

Prior to establishing Urban Aeronautics, Dr. Yoeli spent the early years of his career with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the Boeing Aircraft Company in Seattle. At IAI he was part of the design team responsible for a number of programs including the Lavi fighter aircraft and the Westwind 1125 ‘Astra’ business jet as well as the world's first UAV, the Scout. Dr. Yoeli is a licensed pilot for both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft and holds a B.Sc. in aeronautical engineering from Tel Aviv University. He has an M.Sc. in aeronautical engineering and a PhD. in Artificial Intelligence both from the Technion Institute of Technology.

Dr. Nikolas Zawodny, Research Aerospace Engineer Aeroacoustics Branch, NASA Langley Research Center

Nikolas has been working at NASA LaRC on both the computational modeling and experimental analyses of propeller and rotor aeroacoustics. Most recently, this work has involved the characterization of noise due to rotor-airframe interaction phenomena as well as identification of different noise sources associated with small UAS. He is an active member of American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics and the American Helicopter Society. He received his dual B.S. in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, M.S. in Aerospace Engineering, and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Florida.

Watch Dr. Zawodny's GoFly Master Lecture on Rotary-Wing Noise

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Updates 220

Challenge Updates

Update and GoFly Cover Story in VFS's Vertiflite

April 29, 2020, 9:09 a.m. PDT by GoFly Prize

Hello to all of our GoFly Teams -- 

We hope that you and your loved ones are all safe and well.  For those that were able to virtually attend Agility Prime this week, we had a sneak peek of our GoFly Fly Off video which will be released widely in May or June.  As you all know, the Grand Prize is still up for grabs and we look forward to announcing a new schedule shortly.  In the meantime, we thought you might enjoy VFS’s Vertiflite story featuring many of you. Should we be able to help you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us. Stay safe and be well! 

GoFly Vertiflite Cover Story

Update from GoFly

March 23, 2020, 11:42 a.m. PDT by GoFly Prize

We are writing to each of you across the globe to wish you all good health.  At our heart, GoFly is one big community of innovators, and we are encouraged by your messages of support for GoFly and for each other at this time. 

We know that all of you would rather be working on your flyers and changing the world, and we know that some of you are currently unable to physically meet with your team members due to social distancing and shutdown requirements. So know this: The $1,000,000 Grand Prize will remain available.

Once we have greater clarity on the global schedule, we will provide an updated GoFly calendar. Until that time, we encourage you all to be safe and to continue to make the impossible possible. 

All our best,

The GoFly Team

Team teTra wins Pratt & Whitney Disruptor Prize!

March 4, 2020, 11:35 a.m. PST by GoFly Prize

GoFly is thrilled to announce that Team teTra from Japan won the $100,000 Pratt & Whitney Disruptor Prize. 

The $1,000,000 Grand Prize is still up for grabs so if you think you have what it takes to win it all, contact us at


For more information on teTra see here:

teTra Wins $100,000 Disruptor Award at GoFly Final Fly-Off 

at Moffett Federal Airfield at 

NASA's Ames Research Center

Pratt & Whitney Selects the Winner of the Disruptor Award After Two Years of Innovation 

(Mountain View, CA, Feb. 29, 2020) – teTra Aviation, a team from Tokyo, Japan, has won the $100,000 Pratt & Whitney Disruptor Award in the Inaugural GoFly Prize Final Fly-Off, the world’s first global competition to create personal human flyers.  The team, captained by Tasuku Nakai, a doctoral student at the University of Tokyo, won the award for its teTra 3 machine. 

The GoFly Prize has catalyzed the creation of personal flyers as a first step towards transforming the future of transportation with flying cars, flying motorcycles, hoverboards, jetpacks, human-carrying drones and other personal flyers.  Some 854 teams comprising 3800-plus innovators from 103 countries took up the GoFly challenge and, over the past two years have been crafting their machines and testing them as manned, mannequin-bearing, and unmanned machines.  

“After much anticipation, we are thrilled to announce that teTra Aviation is the winner of the Pratt & Whitney Disruptor Award,” said GoFly Founder and CEO  Gwen Lighter. “The team displayed the technical design and creative prowess that we set out to inspire when we created the GoFly Prize. teTra created a unique personal flyer and we look forward to supporting them as they take the next steps towards revolutionizing human mobility.”

“Innovation has always been at the core of our DNA at Pratt & Whitney and we applaud GoFly’s efforts to transform the industry,“ confirmed Geoff Hunt, Senior Vice President, Engineering. “We’re proud to sponsor such an exceptional competition and we designed the Disruptor Award to recognize the team that challenged the status quo, delivered unique thinking into a complex issue and considered safety, reliability, durability and system integration.”

“This is beyond my imagination,” said Nakai. “The whole team is glad to celebrate this achievement. Personal flying is the future of transportation and I know there will be a day when every person will be able to take off and land anywhere.”

He added, “On behalf of my entire team,  I want to say thank you to GoFly and Pratt & Whitney.”

Prior to the Final Fly-Off, held at Moffett Federal Airfield during Leap Day, 10 teams were named Phase I winners and were awarded  $20,000 prizes for their concepts, while five teams were named Phase II winners and were awarded $50,000 for their prototype submissions.

Lighter said that GoFly is deeply proud of all the teams from around the world that took up the challenge because “they – like us – believe that personal human flight is a key component of our future, not just for commuting to and from work and leisure activities, but for important needs like the delivery of medical care and disaster relief.”

At the moment, however, she explained that no team is able to meet the requirements for the Grand Prize, but “we are hopeful that teams may do so in the near future.   In fact, we look forward to announcing the Grand Prize winner soon, and congratulate all of our teams on their innovation and inspiration.”

The GoFly Prize is supported by Grand Sponsor Boeing, Disruptor Award Sponsor Pratt & Whitney, as well as more than 20 national and international aviation and innovation organizations.  All teams participating in the competition also benefited from the guidance and expertise of a dedicated Mentors and Masters program.

For more information about the GoFly Prize, please visit http://www.goflyprize.com.

About The GoFly Prize

The GoFly Prize is a $2+ million USD, two-year international incentive competition to create a personal flying device that can be safely used by anyone, anywhere. With Boeing as its Grand Sponsor and Pratt & Whitney as its Corporate Sponsor, The GoFly Prize will provide teams with expertise, mentorship, prizes and global exposure as they compete to create the world’s first safe, ultra-compact, urban-compatible personal flying device. The multi-phase competition encourages competitors from around the world to participate in making the dream of human flight a reality. For more information or to form a new team to compete, visit http://www.goflyprize.com.

About Pratt & Whitney 

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft and helicopter engines, and auxiliary power units. United Technologies Corp., based in Farmington, Connecticut, provides high-technology systems and services to the building and aerospace industries. To learn more about UTC, visit its website at www.utc.com, or follow the company on Twitter: @UTC.

About Boeing

Boeing is the world's largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, defense, space and security systems, and service provider of aftermarket support. As America’s biggest manufacturing exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in more than 150 countries. Boeing products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training.

GoFly Final Fly Off Schedule and Activities

Feb. 10, 2020, 3 a.m. PST by GoFly Prize

We are pleased to share the schedule for the GoFly Final Fly Off. As a reminder, $20 tickets for public activities are still available!



GoFly Welcoming Event

6:00 – 8:30 PM

Hiller Aviation Museum



GoFly Teams Take Flight

7:00 AM – 4:00 PM



8:00 AM – 5:00 PM


NASA Talks

These are talks in NASA Ames Building 3 through NASA

8:00 AM

Check-in & Light Breakfast


8:30 AM


Greg Hyslop, Chief Engineer, Boeing


8:50 AM

Pratt & Whitney

Geoff Hunt, Senior Vice President, Engineering, Pratt & Whitney

Susanne Micheel-Sprenger, Vice President, Communications, Pratt & Whitney


9:10 AM


Bob Pearce, Associate Administrator, NASA

Eugene Tu, Center Director, NASA Ames Research Center


9:30 AM

Organization Panel: Meet the Executive Directors

Mike Hirschberg, Executive Director, VFS

Pete Bunce, President & CEO, GAMA

Dan Dumbacher, Executive Director, AIAA

Brian Wynne, President and CEO, AUVSI

Raman Venkatesh, Executive Vice President & COO, SAE International

Tom Haines, Editor in Chief, AOPA


10:15 AM

Morning break at Building 3


10:30 AM


Parimal Kopardekar, Director of NASA Aeronautics Research Institute

Heinz Erzberger, Senior Advisor, Aviation Systems Division, NASA AMES


10:50 AM

The Entrepreneurs

John Langford,  Founder, Aurora Flight Sciences and President, AIAA

Gwen Lighter, CEO, GoFly


11:10 AM

The Entrepreneurs

Helen Grenier, Co-Founder, iRobot


11:30 AM


Earl Lawrence, Executive Director, Aircraft Certification Service, FAA

Rick Domingo, Executive Director for Flight Standards Service, FAA


11:50 AM FAA


Michael Huerta, Macquarie, Former FAA Administrator


12:10 PM

Finance – CVC

Jim Lockheed, Venture Associate, JetBlue Technology Ventures

Srini Ananth, Director, Intel Capital

Brian Schettler, Managing Director, Boeing HorizonX Ventures

Stefan Heuser, Investment Team Head, Hyundai CRADLE


12:45 PM

Lunch at GoFly VIP Tent


1:45  PM


Stephen Rizzi, Senior Researcher for Aeroacoustics, NASA Langley Research Center


2:05 PM

Kitty Hawk

Sebastian Thrun, CEO, Kitty Hawk


2:25 PM


Gary Gysin, President & CEO, Wisk


2:45 PM

Finance – VC

Tess Hatch, Investor, Bessemer Venture Partners

Greer Carper, Investing Principal, Boeing HorizonX Ventures

Peter Shannon, Founder & Managing Director, Radius Capital

Sunil Nagaraj, Founder & Managing Partner, Ubiquity Ventures

Morgan Mahlock,  Associate, In-Q-Tel


3:15 PM


Shivanjli Sharma, Aerospace Research Engineer, NASA Ames Research Center


3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

GoFly Team Talks

GoFly Flying Teams



A Celebration of Flight


10 AM

Doors open


11 AM  – 2 PM

GoFly Teams Take Flight

Short Demo Flights to Showcase Teams for the Disruptor Prize


11 AM – 3 PM

STEM Activities

Team Interactions

Meet and Greets


2 PM – 2:30 PM

California Air National Guard performing a Para-Rescue Jump

Vicky Benzing Showcase Flight


3 PM

GoFly Prize Awards Ceremony


Please note, all schedules are subject to change.

Leap Day tickets available for the GoFly Final Fly Off!

Feb. 3, 2020, 6 a.m. PST by GoFly Prize

Leap Day only tickets are available for the Final Fly Off! 

Join us on Leap Day*, Saturday, February 29th when all GoFly events will be open to the public. Leap Day will feature an Air Show, including:

  • Meet the Teams
  • Talk with the Inventors
  • Watch a Live Air Show
  • See the California Air National Guard perform a para-rescue demonstration
  • Be there when we announce the winner of the GoFly Prize and present that winning Team with a $1 Million Grand Prize. 

Purchase your $20 tickets** now!

We have secured discount rates at nearby hotels and you can find details on the ticketing page. We look forward to announcing more attendees and the full schedule for the Fly Off in the coming weeks.

We look forward to seeing you on February 29th!!

*Programming is subject to change. Saturday only viewing tickets do not include access to the Thursday Hiller Event or any other Friday-flying and speaking activities.

** Tickets are $20 + sales tax.

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