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GoAERO Prize

Design and build a safe, portable, robust, autonomy-enabled Emergency Response Flyer.
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Stage 1 Open
prize:
$2,000,000
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Summary

Overview

 

Our Goal:   Catalyze a Breakthrough Solution to Design and Build the World’s First Compact, Autonomy-Enabled Rescue Aircraft that is Safe and Simple to Fly.

We’ve created a three-year global competition bringing the world’s brightest minds together to focus on a singular mission: Saving Lives. 

Teams participating will design and build the first autonomy-enabled Emergency Response Flyer, a high-tech aircraft that will help response teams reach people, places and crises faster and easier than ever before.

Winners will save countless lives.  They’ll also receive $2+ Million in prizes. 

 

A Singular Mission: Saving Lives

We’re building the world’s first-ever autonomy-enabled Emergency Response Flyer. And we want you to join us.

Imagine a world where every first responder has life-saving aerial capability enabled by compact size and autonomous operations. With support from Boeing, NASA, RTX, and countless partners, our work will make emergency response aircraft accessible to all. 

 

In an Emergency Situation Every Second Counts

The difference between triumph and tragedy in emergency rescue scenarios often rests on our ability to move towards the danger, not away.  That’s why we’re building a new high-tech aircraft that will help emergency response teams reach people, places, and crises faster and easier than ever before.

 

The Challenge: The State of Emergency is Changing. The State of Emergency Response is Not.

Emergency responders face significant challenges getting people, supplies, and medical teams in and out of hazardous situations. Gridlocked traffic, narrow streets, forest fires, thick brush, and vast rivers and mountain ranges create obstacles to swift and effective response efforts and can leave communities vulnerable during times of need.

 

Health Crises

In the U.S. alone, nearly 4.5 million people live in "ambulance deserts." In a medical emergency, they may have to wait 25 minutes or more for an emergency crew to arrive. 

 

Natural Disasters and Climate Change

In 2022, there were more than 380 natural disasters worldwide - affecting 185 million people and resulting in the loss of over 30,000 lives

These extreme weather patterns and climate events have skyrocketed in the past half-century, while our response capabilities have remained stagnant.

 

There is a Gap between What Aircraft Can Do and What First Responders Need.

Helicopters

Since helicopters can’t fly to all places or reach those in tight quarters, helicopter rescues can be very difficult or impossible to complete. Add in the high cost of acquisition and operation and couple that with a pilot shortage, and helicopter rescue response is often inaccessible to many when they need it most.   

Drones 

In search and rescue, drones can complete the search portion of the mission, but not the rescue. 

 

The Answer: Create the World’s First Compact, Autonomy-Enabled Rescue Aircraft that is Safe and Simple to Fly. 

Today’s technology enables simpler, smaller, more reliable, and more versatile aerospace solutions.

Advancements in obstacle sense and avoid technologies combined with state estimation and behavior management algorithms have enabled reliable autonomy.

Electrification has enabled simplified, efficient power and novel airframe designs. With significantly fewer parts, these aircraft can require less maintenance. Plus, electric aircraft are quick to fly—cutting down critical emergency response time.

 

Now is the Time:  We have the Resources. We Just Need The Resourceful.

Your talent and unique vision will help us create the breakthrough emergency response solution we desperately need today. Join GoAERO and start saving lives now. 

 


Guidelines

GoAERO

GoAERO is a set of three competitions fostering development and operation of single-occupant scale, affordable, robust, beneficial systems to serve the public good. These aircraft have invaluable capabilities for addressing challenges posed by natural disasters and climate change, humanitarian crises, medical emergencies, and other situations of people in distress. GoAERO aims to inspire aviation technology, beyond transportation, to benefit humankind. GoAERO aircraft don’t wear running shoes or fancy chauffeur gloves; they get important jobs done and show up ready to help wearing a badge and rugged boots. GoAERO systems are:

  1. Productive: Deploy on site and keep working day-in and day-out, reliably and efficiently.
  2. Versatile: All-theater, multi-environment, and robust so the important jobs are trusted to get done no matter what.
  3. Capable: Precision to complete unique tasks and with the agility to react and adapt to unpredictable environments.

The final Fly-Off event features three separate scored missions to be flown (with manikin stand-ins for human occupants) testing specific relevant skills and capabilities that are applicable to a wide variety of possible real-world scenarios, for example:

  • Retrieve an injured person from under a forest canopy
  • Deliver (or retrieve) a firefighter on a burning hillside
  • Retrieve a drowning victim at the beach
  • Get a first responder to the scene in a dense urban environment (building, signs, wires, tight spaces)
  • Get water and rations to communities cut off by natural disaster
  • Evacuate flood victims
  • Douse a nascent wildfire
  • Rescue someone who has fallen through the ice on a frozen lake
  • Locate / identify / observe an emergency situation
  • Act as a fire truck “ladder extension” 
  • etc.

…And do all this in difficult conditions: bad weather, chaotic (uncooperative) air traffic and obstacles, unknown terrain, etc.

Productivity

Quickly deploy the system, then continuously ferry payloadDrive on site, quickly get the system ready to fly, then make multiple trips to move as much payload as possible.

Adversity

Take off and land in difficult conditionsLand, ground pause, and take off at sandy, sloped, wet/rainy, windy and unsurveyed sites.

Maneuvering

Tightly maneuver while avoiding obstaclesRun a slalom course featuring four obstacles and a spot landing, with and without payload in each direction.

While many existing aircraft are capable of accomplishing these missions, GoAERO will spur new developments that showcase to users, industry, government, and the public the art of the possible with today's technology (affordability, portability, storability, ease of use, versatility, etc.), which may one day lead to fieldable solutions.

 

Schedule

April 8, 2024: Comment period closes

GoAERO solicits and welcomes comments on the Fly-Off rulebook. Use this form to comment.

 

December 11, 2024: GoAERO Stage 1 submission deadline

Up to ten $10,000 Stage 1 winners are selected based on a digital-only submission describing the technical approach and project plan. Stage 1 submissions are judged on:

  • 40% technical approach: Describe the hardware and software you plan to bring to the Fly-Off, describe its sufficient performance, and substantiate that it will perform as claimed.
  • 25% project plan: Show that you will safely and dependably execute up through finishing the Fly-Off and have the necessary resources.
  • 20% competitiveness: Show that your system has been developed and optimized for competitive performance specifically at the GoAERO Fly-Off.
  • 15% clarity: Make your submission organized, succinct, and easy to follow.

June 18, 2025: GoAERO Stage 2 submission deadline

Up to eight $40,000 Stage 2 winners are selected based on Stage 1 content (with updates for those who participated in Stage 1) plus a show of concept validation. In addition to any other key subsystem validation you may wish to include, concept validation must also include evidence (with uncut video, including payload weighing) of the aircraft or representative prototype flying, and it must be at least 35% size scale and carrying a dynamic scale payload weight (~5.4 lb / 2.4 kg for 35% scale) on a minimum flight profile of taking off, flying 100 ft away, and returning to land at the same location. Submissions lacking this required minimum flight capability demonstration will not be scored. Stage 2 submissions are judged on the same criteria as Stage 1 submissions, with an additional 40% for concept validation (i.e., 140% total). The Stage 2 submission will also require explanations of safety procedures in place for the validation flights.

 

August 5 - December 15, 2026: GoAERO Fly-Off qualifying period

Qualifying for participation in the GoAERO Fly-Off requires an aircraft, with registration and airworthiness certificate, that has demonstrated controlled flight capability with full payload. Competitors must submit video (uncut) of the aircraft carrying a full-weight payload (video to include payload weighing) on a controlled outdoor flight consisting of at least a taking off from an area the size of or smaller than one of the defined operations zones, flying at least 300 ft away out of ground effect, and returning to a controlled landing at the same operations zone. 

Under no circumstances will participants be allowed to fly at the GoAERO Fly-Off who have not proven this controlled flight capability at least 30 days prior to the competition. This is a hard deadline, with no exceptions. 

Qualifying and registration will require additional documentation and actions as related to both event logistics and to safety, for example disclosing information on internal safety reviews and operating limitations.  

Early application for qualifying is advantageous since registration may be capped. Early application also allows time to revise and amend a potentially non-qualifying package.

 

February 5, 2027: GoAERO Fly-Off event

The up to 3-day GoAERO Fly-Off features three separate missions testing specific skills and capabilities relevant to public good missions. See GoAERO Fly-Off Rulebook for rules and mission details. The best performer in each completed mission wins a prize of $150,000, and the best aggregate performance earns the $1,000,000 top prize.

Additional prizes will be awarded:

  • $100,000 Pratt & Whitney Disruptor Prize for “disruptive advancement of the state of the art.”
  • $100,000 Autonomy Prize for “achievements enabled by transferable automation, algorithms, and/or sensing developments.”

Rules and requirements may change at any time up to and including the final event. This includes the nature of missions or even the number of missions and scoring parameters.

 

 

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 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.

 

 

GoAERO Fly-Off Rulebook

1. Missions

 

The competition features three separate missions to be performed by single-occupant aircraft with a 125 lb (57 kg) manikin “Alex” stand-in for the occupant. The highest ranked performer completing each mission wins a prize for that mission. The top prize is awarded based on aggregate performance in the missions.

1.1. Productivity mission

Demonstrate the ability to a) quickly deploy the system and b) continuously ferry payload. Ranked by ratio of total payload weight ferried to total system weight.

Operations zone (OZ)

  • The Depot.” Hard surface, trapezoid 100 ft (30 m) long, 5 ft (1.5 m) wide at the narrow end closest to the end line and 30 ft (9 m) wide at the far end.

Profile

Deployment phase

  1. Start with the aircraft, operating crew, and all equipment for the mission (excluding payloads) on the ground transport vehicle, meeting highway weight, length, width, and height limits. 
  2. Drive to the mission course along a prescribed route, which may involve inclines, turns, bumps, moderate minimum speeds, etc. The deployment timer starts upon arrival at the course at the OZ when all points of ground contact of the ground transport vehicle have crossed into the lane surrounding the OZ. Deployment actions, such as crew leaving highway-legal seatbelted positions, may not begin before this time.
  3. Prepare the aircraft for flight. One pause of the deployment timer and, if started, the mission timer (see below) is to be used for unhurried touch-free pre-flight checks and inspections to verify proper setup (with the touch-free participation of other crew and payload handlers allowed). Teams may also use this pause to move the unloaded ground transport vehicle out of the OZ or away from course and move and set up ground control equipment in the designated operating crew area. The maximum duration of the pause is 20 minutes.

Flight phase

  1. The mission timer begins at the first of either liftoff or the deployment timer reaching 30 minutes.
  2. Empty of payload, fly a segment well out of ground effect. A segment is three laps, each from behind the base line, across the end line approximately one quarter mile away, and returning across the base line.
  3. Return to the OZ and touch down.
  4. Load any payload(s) of choice. Payload(s) may vary for each loaded segment and may be any combination of 
    1. up to one Alex manikin, 
    2. up to twelve 6 ft (1.8 m) lengths of #5 rebar (~6.2 lb / 2.8 kg per piece), and/or
    3. up to three 40 lb (18 kg) sandbags (sandbags have no handles).
  5. Take off, fly a segment with payload, and land at the OZ.
  6. Gently unload all payload. Unloaded payload may not be in contact with any system element during flight (including prior to the first segment).
  7. Repeat the process of flying segments, alternating empty and with payload(s).
  8. The mission timer stops at 90 minutes. The last load counts at touchdown (does not have to be unloaded before the timer expires).
  • To complete the mission, the minimum total payload weight ferried is 1250 lb (567 kg).
  • Maximum 4 payload handlers / pit crew. They must be at least 50 ft (15 m) from the OZ borders any time the aircraft is in flight and may never get within 3 ft (0.9 m) of still-moving systems not enclosed or blocked by static aircraft structure as first point of contact. Payloads, tools, and equipment must remain in the OZ or on the aircraft.
  • Expect mission parameters to be revised as the event site allows.
  • Instead of deploying into the OZ, teams may elect for the first takeoff to be directly off of the transport vehicle, which may be parked in the OZ or within a 10 ft (3 m) wide lane bordering all but the short sides of the OZ.
  • Total system weight for ranking includes all equipment used during the mission, including aircraft, extra fuel/batteries, parts, tools/equipment, consumables, etc. It excludes the ground transport vehicle (if not contacted after the first liftoff), operating crew, ground control equipment, and payloads. The first pair of human payload handlers used counts as 50 lbs (23 kg), with any additional individuals as 50 lbs each.

Productivity mission course illustration (not to scale).

1.2. Adversity mission

Demonstrate the ability to take off and land in difficult conditions. Ranked by fastest time.

Operations zones

  • The Base.” Hard surface, 25 ft (7.6 m) wide by 50 ft (15 m) long. 
  • The Pit.” 12 ft x 12 ft (3.7 m) loose dry sand. Sand extends beyond OZ borders and well beyond is surrounded by short walls intended to contain anything strewn by downwash within the OZ environment. Additional elements creating low visibility conditions may be present.
  • The Hill.” 11 ft x 11 ft (3.4 m) on an elevated platform at a ~12 degree incline, surfaced with carpet.
  • The Flood.” Surface of a ~24 ft (7.3 m) diameter, ~18 in (0.5 m) deep pool with simulated moderate (~1/8th inch / 4 mm per hour) rainfall. Touching / resting on the floor of the pool is allowed. Landing must include momentarily touching or popping a balloon floating on the pool surface anchored to limit movement to a ~6 ft (1.8 m) radius circle.
  • The Tornado.” Hard surface, 15 ft x 15 ft (4.6 m) with strong, non-uniform wind currents. Elements used to create these conditions are placed no closer than 18 ft (5.5 m) from the center of the zone.
  • The Unknown.” Hard surface, 60 ft x 25 ft (18 m x 7.6 m). Obstacles up to 3 ft (0.9 m) tall and not in direct view of the operating crew are distributed such that a minimum 15 ft (4.6 m) diameter area remains clear of obstacles. Obstacles may be re-distributed before or during the mission except whenever the aircraft may be en route to the OZ.

Profile

  1. Start at The Base with Alex on board. Timer starts at liftoff.
  2. Overfly a tall (~30 ft / 9 m) marker located up to 100 ft (30 m) away from the OZs. 
  3. Fly to a different OZ. 
  4. Touch down at the new OZ and remain touched down for a minimum of 2 contiguous minutes.
  5. Take off and repeat (take off, overflight of marker, touch down, ground pause) for each of the remaining OZs not yet flown to, in any order.
  6. Timer stops after touchdown back at The Base. Maximum time allowed: 30 minutes.

1.3. Maneuvering mission

Demonstrate the ability to tightly maneuver while avoiding obstacles. Ranked by fastest time.

Operations zones

  • The Base.” Hard surface, 25 ft (7.6 m) wide by 50 ft (15 m) long.
  • The Spot.” Hard surface, 8 ft x 8 ft (2.4 m), with entrance and exit through a 28 ft (8.5 m) wide by 30 ft (9 m) high gate with threshold ~4 ft (1.2 m) from one edge. May be shielded, above and/or to the sides, by structures designed to degrade GNSS quality.

Profile

  1. Take off with Alex from The Base. Timer starts at liftoff.
  2. Fly the course (forward direction):
    1. Navigate around (left turn) obstacle 1 (vertical pylon), staying above 50 ft (15 m) AGL while passing abeam the obstacle in the outbound direction.
    2. Navigate around (right turn) obstacle 2 (vertical pylon), keeping below 35 ft (11 m) (highest point of aircraft) while passing between obstacles 2 and 4.
    3. Navigate around (left turn) or over obstacle 3 (50 ft / 15 m high virtual wall).
    4. Navigate around (right turn) obstacle 4 (same as obstacle 2).
  3. Land on The Spot.
  4. Gently unload payload. 
  5. Take off and fly course in reverse direction, no payload.
  6. Touch down back in The Base.
  7. Fly course in forward direction, no payload, and touch down at The Spot.
  8. Re-load Alex.
  9. Fly course in reverse direction, with payload, and land in The Base. Timer stops on touchdown. Maximum time allowed: 20 minutes.
  • The timer is stopped while any part of the aircraft is touching The Spot, up to a maximum of 4 minutes per visit. 
  • Obstacles and The Spot surface are placed within up to a 75 ft (23 m) width and roughly spaced over a total distance of 225 to 325 ft (69 to 99 m).
  • Obstacles will be physical as far as is practical, with virtual extensions and interpolations. Contact is allowed with obstacles and The Spot gate.
  • Maximum three payload handlers for The Spot operations. Payload handlers are all that are allowed in addition to aircraft and payload (no additional tools or equipment). Payload handlers must be at least 50 ft (15 m) from the OZ borders any time the aircraft is in flight and may never get within 3 ft (0.9 m) of still-moving systems not enclosed or blocked by static aircraft structure as first point of contact.

Maneuvering mission course illustration (not to scale).

2. Additional rules and information

2.1. Spirit of the competition

Just like real-world missions require adaptability, teams should expect the unexpected at the event and should not expect mission conditions, layouts, or elements to be exactly as practiced, precisely defined prior to the event, or exactly the same for each competitor attempt. Course element coordinates will not be provided, and teams may not pre-survey courses. Teams are expected to strive for competitiveness. Just as with sporting events, chance, weather, and other factors outside of competitor control may play a role in determining results.

2.2. Primary mission payload “Alex”

“Alex” is a manikin stand-in for a human with approximate stature of 5’5” (1.65 m) and a nominal weight of 125 lb (57 kg), plus clothing (to represent about half of a fieldable product minimum payload capability to reduce competition cost and logistics). Alex must be carried in some plausible reasonable position with plausible restraints for an active or passive human occupant. 

Alex (specifically, Simulaids #149-1390) and other payloads are provided at the event.

2.3. Transport and staging

The total system, including all operating crew, the aircraft, fuel, support equipment, etc., but excluding payloads, payload handlers, and specialized staging equipment, must arrive at the competition properly secured and fitting on a single US highway-legal ground transport vehicle (trailers allowed), meeting weight, length, and width requirements and a 13.5 ft (4.1 m) height limit. Teams should be prepared to stage for mission attempts within two hours of access to the competition site since prior-day access is not guaranteed.

Whether repurposing the ground transport vehicle or using some other additional separate equipment (tugs, towbars, dollies, etc.), teams must be able to efficiently stage and unstage their system to and from mission courses. This requires the ability to:

  1. Move the system a distance over a hard surface at a minimum of a 2.5 mph (4 km/h) (average walking pace), but more desirably towed or driven,
  2. Set up at the mission starting operations zone and ground station area and be ready to fly within fifteen minutes of arriving at the course, with the timer starting after 10 minutes regardless, and
  3. Clear the course within ten minutes of finishing a mission attempt.

Teams should plan to include the ability to clearly “safe” the system any time it is not attempting a mission, including assurance of radio equipment not transmitting.

2.4. Top prize points

The top prize is based on a system of completion points, rank points, and bonus points.

Completion points 

Teams must earn 30 or more completion points to win the top prize. 

  • 25 points per mission completed.
  • 10 points per mission partially completed. Partial completion criteria are:
  1. Productivity: Total weight of ferried payloads of at least 700 lb (318 kg).
  2. Adversity: Any one OZ or cycle incomplete or omitted.
  3. Maneuvering: Either a) mis-flying any one obstacle once or b) omitting the final flight leg (reverse direction with payload).

Rank points

Teams with fewer than 30 completion points (those not eligible to win the top prize) are omitted from rankings used for determining rank points.

  • 10 points to the highest ranked team of each mission.
  • 4 points to the 2nd highest ranked team of each mission.

Bonus points

  • Operating crew: 2 points for each mission fully or partially completed using only a single operating crew member (excluding staging operations). Capped at 4 points. 
  • Workload: 2 points for each mission fully completed, or 3 points for each mission partially completed, with no more than 30 total seconds of operator inputs. An additional 2 points are awarded if accomplished with zero operator inputs. Inputs whenever payload handlers may be active are ignored. Capped at 9 points.
  • Deployment: 6 points if deployed in under 2 minutes, or 4 points if under 5 minutes, on the Productivity mission if total weight of ferried payloads is at least 125 lb (57 kg).

Ties are settled first by who has at least partially completed more missions, then by who has the superior ranking in more missions, then by points with caps on bonus points removed. If still tied, the prize is split.

2.5. Penalties

Single penalties – 20% completion points reduction per instance:

  • Going partially out of bounds of an OZ (some part of the system still touches inside the OZ).

Double penalties – 40% completion points reduction per instance:

  • Other illegal contact outside of OZs or explicitly allowed mission elements.
  • Inability to meet the efficient staging and unstaging time requirements for a mission.
  • Piercing or otherwise intentionally damaging payloads.

Any penalty results in no ranking for that mission. The standard penalty for otherwise violating rules or not meeting a requirement is a void mission attempt. Gross violations of the rules, unsportsmanlike or unethical conduct, or unsafe behavior, for example any excursion beyond course boundaries, results in disqualification and nullification of all mission attempts. 

2.6. Field of play

  • Layout, dimensions, definitions, and demarcation of OZs, ground station, and other mission elements are approximate.
  • It should not be assumed that areas outside of OZs are smooth, level, or free of obstructions.
  • Teams will not be provided with precise surveyed locations of OZs and mission elements.
  • Teams should not expect access to courses prior to mission attempts.
  • Mission courses will include additional explicit boundaries (including altitude limits) that may be close to mission elements, limiting wide turns.
  • Multiple teams may be airborne simultaneously, attempting the same or different missions, separated by course boundaries.
  • Neither aircraft parts nor payloads may touch the ground, obstacles, or mission elements anywhere outside the operations zone unless otherwise explicitly allowed. Where explicitly allowed, any contact must not result in the element being damaged, toppled, etc. i.e., it must remain in place and functional for the contact to still be legal.

2.7. Uncrewed operations

No human pilot, crew, or passengers are allowed on board during flight. Total operating crew on the ground is limited to 2 persons for staging, deploying, and operating the aircraft in all missions (excludes payload handlers, but includes a visual observer if one operator has obstructed vision).

Ground areas will be designated at each mission course for operating crew, outside expected aircraft flight paths but within line of sight. Anyone in or in communication with the designated area is considered operating crew.

Teams are responsible for ensuring that risks of excursion beyond course boundaries are mitigated, with consideration that there may not be a clean RF or GNSS signal environment.

2.8. Takeoff and landing definition

Lifting off means no part of the aircraft or payload remains in contact with the OZ.

Touching down or landing means a load-bearing part of the aircraft (bears a significant portion of aircraft and payload weight) is in contact with the OZ and the entire flight system is a single unit.

Landings must not result in damage to the aircraft, payload, or OZ. All parts, components, and assemblies must remain intact, attached to the aircraft, and in the OZ.

2.9. Mission order and attempts

Adding and removing accessory equipment between mission attempts is allowed, but the same core aircraft and its elements (propulsion, powered lift, control effectors, lifting surfaces, etc.) must be included for all missions.

The total number of entrants, which mission(s) they plan to attempt, event schedule and calendar, and other factors will determine the order of mission attempts for each competitor. Reattempts to achieve completion or a better score may be available but are also dependent on these factors. Performance points and mission prizes may also be diminished or unavailable on reattempts. In order to allow for a denser schedule of mission attempts at the event, the maximum time allowed limits for missions may also be reduced.

 

GoAERO Fly-Off Rulebook v2 4.11.24

GoAERO Fly-Off Rulebook v1 2.6.24


Competition Parameters

PRIZE PURSE

The GoAERO Prize Competition will award over $2 million in prizes over three stages.

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

Stage 1

  • Up to ten $10,000 Stage 1 winners are selected based on a digital-only submission describing the technical approach and project plan. 

Stage 2

  • Up to eight $40,000 Stage 2 winners are selected based on Stage 1 content (with updates for those who participated in Stage 1) plus a show of concept validation. 

Stage 3

  • One $1,000,000 Top Prize awarded for the best overall fly-off score.
  • Three $150,000 prizes: one for each of the Productivity, Adversity, Maneuvering missions.
  • One $100,000 Pratt & Whitney Disruptor Prize, awarded for disruptive advancement of the state of the art.
  • One $100,000 Autonomy Prize.

See Guidelines above for all rules and requirements for the competition.  

 

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

Teams will keep all of their intellectual property, except that Teams will grant limited media rights to GoAERO so that GoAERO can publicize and promote the Competition and the Teams. The details relating to media rights are addressed in the Stage 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 GoAERO as part of the Competition will only be shared with the Judging Panel and representatives of GoAERO 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. GoAERO empowers innovator teams by providing access to experienced Mentors and Experts in design, engineering, fundraising and law. Teams will have the opportunity to listen to and engage in discussions with the Luminaries of Aerospace and Business in global webinars. Have a couple of questions on conceptual design or configuration management? Looking for insight into cutting edge autonomy techniques? Trying to raise funding to support your build? Expert 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 Experts along with their bios can be found in the Advisors section.

Starting in Stage 1, 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 GoAERO 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. GoAERO 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?

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

For more information, see “Eligibility” below.

 

TIMELINE AND DELIVERABLES

The GoAERO Prize Competition is a three-year Competition launched on February 6, 2024.  There will be three sequential rounds of the Competition.

Comment period

GoAERO solicits and welcomes comments on the Fly-Off rulebook. Use this form to comment.

Stage 1                  

  • Digital-only submission describing the technical approach and project plan. 

Stage 2      

  • Stage 1 content (with updates for those who participated in Stage 1) plus a show of concept validation.        

Stage 3                 

  • Final Fly-Off competition featuring three separate missions testing specific skills and capabilities relevant to public good missions

 

A list of important dates is set forth below:

DescriptionDate

Competition Launch

Public Comment period opens

February 6, 2024
Public Comment period closesApril 8, 2024
Stage 1 Submission deadlineDecember 11, 2024
Stage 1 Winners announcedJanuary 28, 2025

Stage 2 Registration deadline

Stage 2 Submission deadline

June 18, 2025
Stage 2 Winners announcedAugust 6, 2025
Stage 3 Qualifying openAugust 5, 2026
Stage 3 Registration deadlineNovember 4, 2026
Stage 3 Qualifying deadlineDecember 15, 2026
Final Fly-OffFebruary 5, 2027

 

REGISTRATION AND LEGAL DOCUMENTS

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

STAGE 1:

Innovators can compete in Stage 1 both as Individual Innovators and in groups which we refer to as Teams.  To begin the registration process for Stage 1 (the Paper Report Stage of the Competition) and be accepted to participate, you must:

  1. Sign the Stage 1 Competition Agreement
  2. Sign the Release of Liability and Indemnification Agreement
  3. Sign the In-kind Sponsor Benefit Agreement

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

Submission of the documents will enable access to the Stage 1 submission form for competing.  There is no registration fee, but upon submission of a Team’s Stage 1 competition entry, there will be a fee of $250 for Individual Innovators or a fee of $500 for Teams with two or more persons.

 

STAGE 2 and STAGE 3:

There is a big difference between designing on paper and actual building/flying, so the documents involved for the different Stages of the GoAERO Prize vary as well.  In order to proceed from Stage 1 (the paper, technical specifications Stage of the competition) into the actual building (Stages 2 and 3 of the Competition), ALL Teams must submit an additional application and be accepted as a Stage 2 or Stage 3 Team by GoAERO. Under no circumstances should any off-paper work, building or testing take place before a Team is formally admitted into Stage 2 or Stage 3 of the GoAERO Prize. Should any work be done off-paper before being accepted into Stage 2 or Stage 3 in contravention of the foregoing, such work is done entirely outside the scope of the GoAERO Prize.

Prior to the Stage 1 submission deadline, Teams wishing to be considered for acceptance as a competitor in Stage 2 of the Competition (which acceptance will be in the sole discretion of GoAERO) must sign the Extension and Amendment of Stage 1 Competition Agreement (which is attached to the Stage 1 Competition Agreement). 

The Stage 2 and 3 Application forms will be available in Summer 2024. Each Team that participates in Stage 2 and 3 is required to complete the package of legal documents which will govern those Stages of 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
  • Warrant Agreement, including the Company Questionnaire and the other documents referenced therein.

Of note, Stage 2 and 3 Teams must register and participate as legal entities, and not as individuals.  See “Eligibility” below for further details.


FOR ALL STAGES OF THE COMPETITION:

Teams must sign all legal documents and comply with all requirements therein to be admitted to the Competition.  Once GoAERO 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.

Each Team shall designate a Team Member to act as “Team Leader”. The Team Leader will be responsible for communicating with GoAERO 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). A Team may add and/or remove Team Members at any time through the Team Portal.  The Team has sole responsibility for adding and removing Team Members.

At registration, each Team must list the individuals that are part of the Team (the Team Members), including all individuals or entities involved in the design, development, or testing of the Team’s Submission, including employees. All Team Members must register at the Competition website and sign the Stage 1 Competition Agreement. Teams may add and/or remove Team Members at any time through the Team Portal. The 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 Stage II and III must be legal entities (not individuals) and must complete all Stage 2 and III legal documents by the Stage 2 and 3 registration deadlines. New Teams who have not participated in Stage 1 or Stage 2 are still eligible to participate in Stage 3 by completing registration documents by the Stage 3 registration deadline.

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

 

ELIGIBILITY

Stage 1 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 Stage 1 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) an employee of Boeing or Pratt & Whitney (or an affiliate) or a member of any such 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, Russia, Sudan or, as applicable, Crimea and covered regions of Ukraine) 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 Stage 1 Competition Agreement, and (c) are able to participate without violation by the Team or any Team Member of any third-party rights or obligations.    

Exclusions:  Entity Innovators must not have any presence in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Russia, Sudan or, as applicable, Crimea and covered regions of Ukraine, or be subject to export controls or sanctions of the United States.  

 

Stage 2 and Stage 3 Eligibility:

Among other requirements, Stage 2 and 3 of the Competition are only 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 by the Team or any Team Member 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 GoAERO 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) an employee of Boeing or Pratt & Whitney (or an affiliate) or a member of any such 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,  Russia, Sudan or, as applicable, Crimea and covered regions of Ukraine) or (c) subject to export controls or sanctions of the U.S.  Additionally, Teams must not have any presence in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Russia, Sudan or, as applicable, Crimea and covered regions of Ukraine 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 GoAERO’s review and approval.

Each Team’s compliance with these requirements and eligibility for the Competition will be determined by GoAERO in its sole discretion.  Only Teams meeting all of the eligibility requirements set forth in the Master Team Agreement as determined by GoAERO and who are otherwise qualified and accepted by GoAERO 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.  Teams must also acquire all necessary licenses, waivers, and/or permits from the applicable regulatory bodies or other applicable third parties. GoAERO is not required to advise Team regarding such legal and regulatory compliance, and GoAERO shall have no responsibility for a Team’s compliance with laws and disclaims any responsibility for advising on the applicability of laws or regulations or a Team’s compliance therewith.  GoAERO’s acceptance of a Team into the Competition does not constitute approval of that Team’s compliance with laws applicable to it.

 

TEAM SUBMISSIONS

For each Stage 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;
  • Submissions 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 by 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 other intellectual property rights;
  • Submissions must not disparage GoAERO, any Competition sponsor, any GoAERO 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 GoAERO any such current, former, or expected future conflict of interest with GoAERO, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney 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 a Teams’ compliance with the Master Team 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 Stage 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 GoAERO. 

 

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE AND CURRENCY

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

Technical Rules
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Challenge Updates

Expert Lecture Tomorrow: Introducing “Alex” Our Nasco Manikin

May 20, 2024, 7 a.m. PDT by GoAERO Prize

Join us tomorrow for our next Expert Lecture:

Tuesday, May 21st @ 11:30 am EST
Title: Introducing “Alex” Our Nasco Manikin
Speaker: Michael Lippincott, Product Manager, Nasco Healthcare
Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/1017144227401/WN_opBc-zBAQ3qtGOIc1msQ7A

Michael Lippincott is a Product Manager at Nasco Healthcare, a leader in the healthcare simulation industry for over 80 years. Headquartered in Saugerties, NY, Nasco delivers lifelike, reliable, and affordable medical simulation solutions that enable everyday heroes to be at their best. The company’s mission is to prepare frontline healthcare workers to Be READY to deliver optimal patient outcomes and save lives whenever and wherever they are called.

As Product Manager at Nasco, Michael excels at identifying market needs and bringing new products that meet said needs to market. Michael also acts as a product educator, helping others to understand the features and capabilities of Nasco’s unique products and how to get the most out of them.


A Panel on GoAERO Rules Recording + Upcoming Expert Lectures

May 8, 2024, 11 a.m. PDT by GoAERO Prize

Thank you for joining us on May 6th for our panel discussion on the GoAERO rules. You can watch the recording here:

Stay tuned as we address the questions that we were unable to answer during the panel via the Forum in the coming days.

 

Remember to register now for our upcoming lectures and add them to your calendar.

May 21st @ 11:30 am EST
Title: Introducing “Alex” Our Nasco Manikin
Speaker: Michael Lippincott, Product Manager, Nasco Healthcare
Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/1017144227401/WN_opBc-zBAQ3qtGOIc1msQ7A


May 28th @ 11 am EST
Title: First Responders: Real World Scenarios
Speaker: Thomas Judge, Executive Director, LifeFlight Aviation Services
Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/4317144230271/WN_u7HNOOTpTJSVmWD7j9uFoA


GoAERO Expert Lecture: A Panel on GoAERO Rules and Design Strategy TODAY at 4pm EST!

May 6, 2024, 7 a.m. PDT by GoAERO Prize

Join us today at 4pm EST for our next GoAERO Expert Lecture that features a Panel on GoAERO Rules and Design Strategy. 

Speakers:

Dan Newman, Chief Technology Officer for Honeywell Advanced Air Mobility Division (Moderator)
Dr. Jason Cornelius, VFS Design Build Vertical Flight Competition

Andy Keith, Chief Propulsion Engineer, Sikorsky
Luigi U. Ricci Moretti, Vertical Flight Expert
Marc Sheffler, Chief Technology Integrator for Advanced Mobility, The Boeing Company (Retired)
Dr. Glen Whitehouse, CEO, Continuum Dynamics, Inc.

Registration link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/2017143992167/WN_D9N4AxH1Ssm5QyDBP2aCbQ

The webinar will include a Q&A session. 


Michael Duffy Expert Lecture Recording + 3 Upcoming Lectures

April 30, 2024, 9 a.m. PDT by GoAERO Prize

Thank you for joining us yesterday for our first Expert Lecture on Energy/Powerplant Approaches with Michael Duffy, Vice President of Product at Electric Power Systems. It is available to watch here:

 

We are also pleased to announce 3 upcoming lectures. We encourage you to register now and add them to your calendar.

May 6th @ 4pm EST

Title: A Panel on the GoAERO Rules
Speakers:

Dan Newman, Chief Technology Officer for Honeywell Advanced Air Mobility Division (Moderator)
Dr. Jason Cornelius, VFS Design Build Vertical Flight Competition

Andy Keith, Chief Propulsion Engineer, Sikorsky
Luigi U. Ricci Moretti, Vertical Flight Expert
Marc Sheffler, Chief Technology Integrator for Advanced Mobility, The Boeing Company (Retired)
Dr. Glen Whitehouse, CEO, Continuum Dynamics, Inc.

Registration link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/2017143992167/WN_D9N4AxH1Ssm5QyDBP2aCbQ

 

May 21st @ 11:30 am EST
Title: Introducing “Alex” Our Nasco Manikin
Speaker: Michael Lippincott, Product Manager, Nasco Healthcare
Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/1017144227401/WN_opBc-zBAQ3qtGOIc1msQ7A


May 28th @ 11 am EST
Title: First Responders: Real World Scenarios
Speaker: Thomas Judge, Executive Director, LifeFlight Aviation Services
Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/4317144230271/WN_u7HNOOTpTJSVmWD7j9uFoA

 


First Expert Lecture on Energy/Powerplant Approaches TODAY at 11am EST!

April 29, 2024, 7 a.m. PDT by GoAERO Prize

Join us as we kick-off our Expert Lecture Series with a lecture on Energy/Powerplant Approaches, led by Michael Duffy, Vice President of Product at Electric Power Systems in 1 hour at 8 am PST / 11 am EST.

Register here: https://shorturl.at/ruSUZ

About Michael Duffy: Michael Duffy is currently the Vice President of Product at Electric Power Systems. In this role, he leads a team that brings high-power battery systems to aerospace products, electrifying flight and reducing carbon emissions for transportation. Prior to EP Systems, he worked at Boeing for 18 years in Boeing Vertical Lift, Boeing Research and Technology and Space and Launch. He holds 16 patents in vertical lift technology and unmanned systems technology. 


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