Feb 29 (Leap day, of course) saw the finals of the GoFly Prize, a competition primarily sponsored by Boeing to produce small VTOL vehicles for personal flight. The rules required a fairly small form factor (8’ sphere, roughly) and a 30 minute flight time, along with a number of parameters.
Competitors included a range of small entrepreneurs, university teams and maverick individuals, and entries ranged from concepts and models to full sized flying vehicles. The competition, held at my old stomping grounds at Moffett Field, CA, produced no winner of the million dollar prize, so competition will continue.
In a way, it reminded me a bit of the original DARPA Grand Challenge, in which a similar set of scrappy teams competed and nobody won. 2 years later, 5 teams produced working robocars and set us on the path we’re now on. However, in this case, there are probably over 200 companies in the e-VTOL space, many who have already produced real flying vehicles that could have won this contest other than on size, so this was definitely a group of underdogs.