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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. Read Overview...

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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 a $2,000,000 challenge 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 $2,000,000 in prizes over three phases, culminating in a Final Fly Off in the Autumn of 2019.

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 four $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.

Phase III                    

  • One $1,000,000 Grand Prize awarded for the best overall fly-off score.
  • One $250,000 prize for the quietest compliant entry.
  • One $250,000 prize for the smallest compliant entry.
  • One $100,000 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 of this media rights agreement are in the Phase I Competition 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 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 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.  In fact, every month (and sometimes twice a month), 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 DARPA chiefs, 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

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                                                        May 29, 2018 

Phase II registration deadline                                            December 8, 2018

Phase II submission deadline                                             February 6, 2019

Phase II awards and Phase III fly-off invitation issued     March 28, 2019

Phase III - Flight readiness review                                     September 2019 [TBD]

Final Fly-off                                                                         October 2019 [TBD]


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.


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 those phases of the GoFly Prize differ as well.   In order to proceed from Phase I (the paper, technical specifications phase of the competition) into the actual building (Phase II and III of the Competition), ALL Teams must submit an additional application, and be accepted as a Phase II Team by GoFly. Under no circumstances should any off-paper work or building take place before a Team is admitted into Phase II of the GoFly Prize.   Should any work be done off-paper before being accepted into Phase II 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 early 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 (similar to the Phase I Competition Agreement with updates)
  • Certificate of Insurance (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
  • Incubator Equity Agreement
  • For Grand Prize Winner Only: Boeing Warrant Agreement

Of note, Phase II and III Teams must participate as corporate entities. GoFly will help any Phase I team wishing to continue into Phase II with corporate formation.


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 replace the designated Team Leader at any time through the Team Portal.

As part of the Registration Form, 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 (“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.   New teams who have not participated in Phase I are still eligible to participate in Phase II by completing registration by the Phase II registration deadline.  Existing teams from Phase I must register their intent to participate in Phase II by the Phase II 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.  Team expressly authorizes Boeing to contact Team if Boeing so desires.  Teams have the right to access, withdraw, and correct their personal information. 



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 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 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.

Beginning at Phase II of the Competition, to be eligible to participate in the Competition, Team must be a validly existing legal entity (e.g. corporation, LLC, etc.) that is duly organized and in good standing in its jurisdiction of organization.   For those Teams who enter Phase I of the competition without being a legal entity, GoFly will provide guidance in incorporation.
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 Phase I Competition Agreement as determined by GoFly will be recognized as a participant 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 hereby 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 or any Competition Sponsor;
  • 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 Judging Panel will be approved by a majority of the Judges that vote on each 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).



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 spanning two years beginning in 2017:

Phase I:        

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

Phase II:      

  • Up to four $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 $250,000 prize for the quietest compliant entry.
  3. One $250,000 prize for the smallest compliant entry.
  4. One $100,000 prize 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. May 29, 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 8, 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 status report will 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 testing is acceptable):

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

1.5. March 28, 2019: Phase II awards and fly-off invitation 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. Invitations to participate in the fly-off competition will be extended to teams meeting all Phase II submission requirements.

1.6. September 2019: Flight readiness review

A flight readiness review will be supported by a flight readiness report, which will include flight logs showing at least 10% of safe prior flight minimums and a final safety report.

1.7. October 2019: Final 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.

Materials that must be presented to organizers include:

  • Logs of safe prior flight minimums
  • Affidavit that entry is the same as has been represented to organizers and authorities and that has completed the documented and logged testing
  • Optional: drawings or other aids to assist judges in verifying sightlines compliance
  • Means of measuring fuel reserves (for devices whereby fuel weight measurement method is inapplicable)
  • Final Operator’s Manual (including but not limited to required inspections and functional checks to ensure safe and working condition)
  • Data submitted may be marked to protect Intellectual Property as detailed in the Master Team Agreement.

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, including microphone placement 50 ft from envelope center.


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 six evenly spaced locations 50 feet from the center of the takeoff/landing envelope. The sound pressure level will be measured in decibels relative to 20 micropascals, with A frequency weighting, S time weighting, and using Class 2 or better equipment in current calibration.

The maximum sound level will be determined at each of the 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 GoFly-provided dummy will be available. Teams may also choose to provide their own, which 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 GPS and 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

A minimum of 5 flight hours without incident or configuration changes must be logged prior to the fly-off. 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.

Extremely minor configuration changes are allowed during these flights as long as they in no way negatively affect safety, they are declared to organizers, and at least one flight hour is logged after all changes.

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 these 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)

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