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GoFly Prize

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...
Please email Info@goflyprize.com to begin your registration for Phase III. Upon expression of interest, you will be required to complete additional documents.
Overview

VISION

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.

 

PRIZE PURSE

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, 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

 

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

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.

 

INNOVATION INCUBATOR

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 multiple times each 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.).  his 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.

 

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?

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.

 

TIMELINE AND DELIVERABLES

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                                                                                           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 28, 2019

Phase III Flight readiness review and Registration deadline                              September 2019 [TBD]

Final Fly-off                                                                                                             Q1 2020 [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.

 

REGISTRATION AND LEGAL DOCUMENTS

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.

PHASE I:

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.

 

PHASE II and PHASE III:

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.


FOR ALL PHASES OF THE COMPETITION:

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 must complete all Phase II legal documents by the Phase II registration deadline. New teams who have not participated in Phase I are still eligible to participate in Phase II by completing registration documents 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, 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. 

 

ELIGIBILITY

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.

 

TEAM SUBMISSIONS

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.

 

JUDGING PANEL

INDEPENDENT JUDGING PANEL

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.

ROLE OF THE JUDGING PANEL

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.

GROUNDS FOR JUDGING PANEL DECISIONS

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. 

DECISIONS OF THE JUDGING PANEL ARE FINAL

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. 

 

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE AND CURRENCY

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).

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Final Fly-Off

Feb. 13, 2019, 11:02 a.m. PST by GoFly Prize

We have some exciting news to share on the Final Fly Off!

While we are still determining final dates and location, we believe that the Fly Off will be extended by a few months to the first quarter of 2020

That means that you have more time to build your personal flyers—and there is still enough time to join us and win! To learn more about how to register for Phase III, email us at phase3@goflyprize.com

We expect the Fly Off to take place in the western United States. 

We will keep you updated as we finalize details.


Meet the Teams: Get to Know Team EosFlight, From the United Kingdom

Feb. 12, 2019, 6 a.m. PST by GoFly Prize

Editor’s Note: We’re excited to introduce you to the innovative, bold, and talented individuals competing in GoFly. Our teams come from all over the world, shaped by their diverse backgrounds and unique life experiences. We can’t wait to see what they’ll build, but in the meantime, get to know the people behind the devices.

While Team EosFlight sees the recreational benefits of the personal flying device they’re building for the GoFly Prize, the team also envisions their device solving critical societal problems, namely reducing traffic reduction and maximizing efficiency in search and rescue operations. One of their biggest challenges? Reducing noise to ensure a quiet, pleasant experience for riders.

Below, hear from Team EosFlight’s Josh Cohen on his vision for a future that includes personal air travel and how his team plans to get there.

How did you realize you were passionate about aviation and flight?

We as a team have had this vision for many years now, but the GoFly Prize has enabled us to shape it. From being obsessed with engineering at a very young age, to marrying that obsession with aeronautics, our team has a huge passion for all things flight. We’ve been inspired by watching videos of milestones including the Wright Brothers’ first flight, the incredible creation of the Concorde, and the moon landing.

What excites you about GoFly?  

The GoFly Prize is allowing us to fulfil our dream of creating a different future for our world. The inner city vehicle we are creating will not only enable people to get from A to B in record time, but it also has the potential to save the lives of millions of people through more efficient search and rescue operations. The freedom and autonomy of personal flight are most exciting to us.

What is your biggest challenge in the GoFly Prize competition currently? How do you plan to overcome it?

Three spring to mind. Funding, time and noise. We are currently talking to investors to raise money for our Phase III submission to build the best version of our 1-1 scale prototype, which we are currently bootstrapping through our design agency.

Second, our team members are involved in various separate projects as well, which means that ensuring we are all spending time together is definitely a challenge. Noise has also become a huge consideration for us as we continue to figure out how to make a vehicle that is quiet enough for inner city travel.

What does the world look like after you create your flying device? How do you think you will change the world?

We know that our flying device could create a huge reduction in inner city overcrowding and a dramatic increase in the efficiency of our transport infrastructure. People will no longer need transport hubs and runways, and we’ll see a decrease in the number of motorized accidents given the vastness of the sky. Ambulance services will be able to help patients faster and more effectively. We view personal flight as the future of travel and transport.


Congratulations on completing GoFly Phase II!

Feb. 8, 2019, noon PST by GoFly Prize

Congratulations to all of our Innovators and Teams on completing the submissions for Phase II of the GoFly Prize, sponsored by Boeing! Almost 300 Innovators from 40 Teams across 16 countries registered for Phase II. Of those, 31 Teams submitted entries. The technical prowess and enthusiasm to change the world are evident in the entries; our team looks forward to reviewing all of the submissions in greater detail in the coming weeks. This exciting moment marks the next step in our collective mission to revolutionize flight, transportation, and the world as we know it!

On March 26, GoFly will announce the Phase II winners and award $50,000 USD to up to four winning teams. What shape will our four winning designs take? We are as eager to find out as you are!

As we look forward to the months ahead, our Final Fly-Off event will be the culmination of the GoFly Prize and the realization of our shared dream of flight. We can’t wait to welcome all Innovators who meet the Fly-Off requirements to debut their personal flyers — and to make history. Four prizes will be awarded at the Final Fly-Off, including a $250,000 prize for the quietest compliant device, a $250,000 prize for the smallest compliant device, the $100,000 Pratt & Whitney Disruptor Award, and, of course, the $1,000,000 Grand Prize.

There is still a lot of time until the Fly-Off—and you can join us now.

There are three important points to note:

1.  New Teams:  

New Teams can still join the competition and participate in the Final Fly-Off. The competition is still completely open to any and all around the world who want to compete for the almost $2,000,000 in prizes still to be won. All teams that wish to join the competition should contact us to begin the registration process at phase3@goflyprize.com.

Teams do not need to have won a previous round’s prize—or even to have participated in a previous round—to win the Final Fly Off Prizes. 

2.  Phase I Teams:

Phase I Teams may also continue in the competition. You do not need to have participated in Phase II in order to register now and compete in Phase III and the Final Fly-Off. All teams that wish to participate in Phase III should reach out to us at phase3@goflyprize.com.

3.  Phase II Teams:

You have already completed all paperwork necessary to register and continue on to Phase III, so you can focus on building and flying your revolutionary creations! Yes, that’s right—all Phase II Teams can continue onto Phase III without any additional registration documents. Of course, Teams will still need to meet all GoFly Rules and Final Fly-Off requirements to compete.

Stay tuned for more updates—and should you have any questions, please reach out to us at phase3@goflyprize.com.

Ready. Set. GoFly!


Meet the Teams: Get to Know Team X-Aero, From Melbourne, Australia

Feb. 5, 2019, 6 a.m. PST by GoFly Prize

Editor’s Note: We’re excited to introduce you to the innovative, bold, and talented individuals competing in GoFly. Our teams come from all over the world, shaped by their diverse backgrounds and unique life experiences. We can’t wait to see what they’ll build, but in the meantime, get to know the people behind the devices.

GoFly Prize participants get their inspiration from a variety of sources. For Stephanie McCulloch, member of Team X-Aero from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, it was her grandfather—who worked on runway construction and lent his expertise to aviation literature—that sparked her interest in aviation. Her teammate Stephen Hardiman, meanwhile, was always taken aback by the presence and stature of pilots, who commanded respect everywhere they went.

As Team X-Aero continues to build their prototype, they can’t wait to see personal flight become a reality rather than a futuristic dream. Read on to learn more about what’s driving them in the competition.

How did you realize you were passionate about aviation? What’s your earliest memory associated with flight?

Stephen Hardiman: I have always had a passion for aviation. I’ve wanted to be a pilot and still do, but the engineering side of aviation is what really excites me. Knowing how all the pieces of a complex puzzle fit together to make an aircraft take off and soar is what makes me love it.

Stephanie McCulloch: When I was nine years old, I was fortunate enough to go on a joy ride in a small general aviation aircraft over Melbourne. I could feel small streams of air pushing into the cabin through gaps in the door, which made the whole experience that much more exhilarating. At one point, the pilot allowed me to take control, which was an amazing opportunity.

When did you decide to pursue a career in aviation?

Hardiman: When I was 13, I had my first flying lesson ever, and since then, I have always wanted to be involved in the industry.

McCulloch: In my final year of primary school something clicked—I loved working with mechanical things, using creative problem solving and, of course, building things that fly.

Was there someone who inspired your interest in aviation when you were a child? Who did you look up to?

Hardiman: My parents took me on a lot of planes when I was a child, so I have always looked up to pilots as they command so much respect.

McCulloch: My grandfather was always a profound source of inspiration— he brought energy to everything he did. His contributions to both constructing runways in Australia and aviation literature were powerful, introducing me to the industry and possibilities to lie ahead.

What were some of your favorite courses in school? How did they enrich your understanding of aviation?

Hardiman: Aerospace propulsion with my lecturer Graham Dorrington, who is also on the X-Aero team, was my favorite subject. I was so awful at it that I actually had to take it twice, but Graham was such a great lecturer and has so much passion for the industry.

McCulloch: I have always loved physics, so studying dynamics and control in the third year of my honors degree allowed me to refine my aircraft modelling skills and plan control strategies. Advanced aerodynamics has also provided me with the theoretical foundations essential to coding and finite element analysis in assessing an air vehicle's behaviour during oncoming and randomly generated air streams.

What excites you about GoFly?  

Hardiman: The idea of having my own personal flying device is just astonishing. Before this competition started, I thought we were years away from achieving that reality. However, our team has shown that it is already possible with three prototypes.

McCulloch: I’m excited to have the opportunity to share with the world what us students here at RMIT University are capable of creating.

What does the world look like after you create your flying device? How do you think you will change the world?

Hardiman: After the world sees our flying device, personal flight will no longer be seen as ‘the future.’ It will be the present. I believe it will be a definitive game changer.

McCulloch: We will no longer see the restrictions of transport today. Instead, will see endless solutions. X-Aero can bridge the gap between air and land transport, offering a creative and highly viable solution.

What is your biggest challenge in the GoFly Prize competition currently? How do you plan to overcome it?

Hardiman: Marketing ourselves has been a challenge, considering that we are a team made up entirely of engineers. Sometimes there are things about marketing that we don’t quite know, but we are making plans to find people that can help us in the future.

McCulloch: I believe that our only true restraint is time, but the progress X-Aero has made already has been phenomenal! The team is working tirelessly throughout the summer holidays here in Australia to keep a fast-paced schedule, with excellent communication facilitating our efficient work.

What’s one fun fact about you that your team members don’t know? What is something we should know about you?

Hardiman:  That's a hard one, since we have spent everyday together working over the last year. But, I don’t think they know that I can play the didgeridoo.

McCulloch: Believe it or not, I am actually well versed in boomerang throwing.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received from a mentor?

Hardiman: That academic results are only one side of the coin, and it takes more than grades to be successful. There are so many more important factors, including applying yourself fully.

McCulloch: To keep at it! This goes for not only achieving academic results and maximizing project development, but also for creating paths for yourself. I can now say that the greatest opportunities I've had in this industry so far have been those which I sought out myself.


Meet the Teams: Get to Know Team DragonAir, From Florida, USA

Jan. 29, 2019, 6 a.m. PST by GoFly Prize

Editor’s Note: We’re excited to introduce you to the innovative, bold, and talented individuals competing in GoFly. Our teams come from all over the world, shaped by their diverse backgrounds and unique life experiences. We can’t wait to see what they’ll build, but in the meantime, get to know the people behind the devices.

Based in Panama City Beach, Florida, Team DragonAir’s Mariah Cain never expected to pursue a career in aviation. But after getting her first taste of flight through a Hydroflight watersport device, flying—and empowering others to do so—has become Cain’s dream.

Today, she and her team are working tirelessly to design, build and test their personal flying device as part of the GoFly Prize. Cain is confident in their efforts thus far, and optimistic about the next phase of the competition.

Read on to learn more about what sparked Cain’s passion, and how DragonAir is working through their biggest challenges.

How did you realize you were passionate about aviation and flight?

I became passionate about flight through Hydroflight, a watersport. Obviously, it is much different than flying a personal multi-copter, but soaring above the water with a jetblade attached to my feet was the first time I experienced the freedom of height and movement through the air. That instilled a passion in me.

Was there something that inspired your interest in aviation when you were a child?

Airplanes were interesting to me, as they are to most children, but I was much more fascinated by fairy dust and flying like Peter Pan.

When did you decide to pursue a career in aviation?

I never dreamed of being part of the development of one of the first electric devices for future personal transportation. Working everyday, doing the things that aerospace and mechanical engineers do for a living is not where I pictured myself even a year ago. I love the challenge and the thrill behind it. I had a video of me flying from last year that got an outstanding amount of support, and there was a moment when I realized this could be something that offers a bright future for me.

What were some of your favorite courses in school? How did they enrich your understanding of aviation?

My favorite courses in school included biology and English. Both involved analytics and writing, which are necessary to get anything approved in the aviation industry.

What excites you about GoFly?  

GoFly has provided our team with the inspiration we needed to evolve our device. If we win, we’ll have the means to keep creating new devices. But, even if we don’t win, we’ve already learned an incredible amount and have had some fun showing off our extraordinary machine through the publicity of this worldwide challenge.

Participating in the GoFly Prize has given us the resources to build the PEVTOL device that we have been dreaming of with support from the FAA, aerospace insurance providers and other necessary partners.

What does the world look like after you create your flying device? How do you think you will change the world?

It is evident that the world is itching to have these personal flying devices made available to them. I cannot picture a future where humans are not flying themselves as a mode of transportation. The progression of technology has made it easier than ever to control a flying device.

I believe that once people experience how amazing personal flight feels, they won’t want to go back to old modes of transportation. After I learned to drive, I rarely used my bike anymore. It won't be the solution to everything, but in many cases, personal flight will fit into our society perfectly.

What is your biggest challenge in the GoFly Prize competition currently? How do you plan to overcome it?

At this point, it is funding. I have no doubt that we can build our machine, but we have not found the right person to back our creation yet. We have scrapped together enough money to get this far, and we’ve had lots of potential partners that we thought would be ‘the one,’ but the right match hasn’t happened yet.

Currently, we are working hard to ensure that the potential investors/sponsors we are talking to now have everything they need to feel comfortable investing in our vision. I know it will all come together in the end, one way or another.

What’s one fun fact about you that your team members don’t know?

That getting to work in the lab everyday and create new things is basically my dream job. Despite all the work put in, it is so fun to test new inventions with Jeff Elkins. GoFly is making it easier to do what I love.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received from a mentor?

If you don't work on something, you'll never know what could have come of it. If you don't ask, you'll have missed the opportunity completely. Might as well just go for it and keep a smile on your face—you never know what could happen.


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