On February 27, 28, and 29, 2020, Moffett Airfield at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View will play host to a very unique contest-the GoFly Final Fly Off event where teams from around the world will compete for $2 million in prize money for the design and creation of personal flyers. 854 teams representing more than 3,800 innovators from 103 countries have taken on the personal flight challenge.
GoFly is the brainchild of Gwen Lighter, who, like most children, dreamt of being able to fly ever since she was a child. But Lighter continued her fascination of personal flight into adulthood. In September 2017, GoFly was launched by Lighter as an international competition with $2 million in prize money for the creation of the ultimate personal flight machine.
Lighter, who earned a law degree and started numerous businesses prior to GoFly, always retained her fascination with personal flight. Throughout her life and numerous careers, she kept abreast of its progress. She knew the technological confluence of electric cars, drones, new composite materials, 3D printing and other methods of creating prototypes indicated that the emergence of personal flying devices was on the horizon.
“When you put all of these things together, it’s actually the first moment in time where we have the ability to make people fly in the manner of our childhood dreams,” Lighter explains enthusiastically in an interview with Entrepreneur Magazine. She goes onto state that these multitude of technologies make safe personal flight a real possibility that simply didn’t exist even five years ago.
And so, GoFly was born. Lighter began reaching out to both individuals and organizations involved in the transformative aviation industry with one inquiry: “We want to make people fly. We think the best way to do this is to have a global competition. How do we make this happen?”
After more than a year consulting with authorities on aerospace, propulsion, noise mitigation, and other related fields, Lighter and her team crafted the GoFly competition technical rules and guidelines based on expert inputs. The competition was promoted through colleges and universities, news associations, and industry groups all around the globe. Soon, hundreds of teams were contacting GoFly about participating.
GoFly is not a profit-making business. Instead, it has an established budget provided by a multitude of corporate sponsors including NASA and Boeing who have a stake in the aeronautic game. The three phases of the competition – paper, prototype, and the final fly off at Moffett Airfield – each include prize money, a mentorship program and a guarantee that participants’ retain possession of their own intellectual property. Teams are not required to win one phase in order to advance to the next, and GoFly accepts new team applications on a rolling basis.
GoFly’s two-year global competition culminates during the three-day multi-phase challenge at Moffett Field. Teams will compete for $2 million by showcasing and flying their safe, quiet, and compact vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) personal human flyers. During the Final Fly Off event, there attendees will enjoy interactions with the teams, STEM activities, keynote speeches with aviation, aeronautic, and government leaders from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Boeing, NASA, Pratt & Whitney, GAMA and more, a para-rescue demonstration conducted by the California National Guard, along with the highly anticipated final awards ceremony.
Tickets for the event are only $20 per person and are available for purchase online. Be a part of history as you witness every child’s dream come true when the GoFly community of innovators find solutions to safe, sustainable personal flight.