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Boeing slams $2m on the desk, bellows: Now where's my jetpack?

Aviation chums want personal flying device that can be flown by 'anyone, anywhere'

Boeing and its pals today offered a whopping $2m (£1.49m) in prizes to anyone who can design and build a working “personal flying device."

The GoFly competition aims to spur on the development of safe, quiet, ultra-compact jetpacks that can hover, take off and land, and fly for at least 20 miles. "Now is the time,” as the contest's website put it.

Boeing and 14 other aviation companies reckon that the combination of advances in propulsion technology, energy, control and stability systems, and strong, lightweight materials means the dream of human personal flight is now within reach.

“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.”

“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.”

Here's a video unveiling the GoFly Prize:

Youtube Video

The $2,000,000 cash reward will be split into three phases:

  • Phase I The first phase awards up to ten $20,000 (£14,900) prizes for teams with “interesting written concepts.”
  • Phase II The second phase will hand out four $50,000 (£37,200) bounties to teams that have promising prototypes after revising their Phase I material.
  • Phase III The third phase is when the jetpacks will be tested practically.

The ultimate Grand Prize is $1m (£743,300) for the team with the highest overall score. A $250,000 prize will be awarded for the quietest jetpack, another $250,000 will be given to the smallest device, and a final $100,000 is for “disruptive advancement” of the state-of-the-art technology.

Anyone can participate in the two-year challenge. Teams can start off as individuals and add more team members at any point in the competition as it progresses.

They will be guided by mentors with experience in design, engineering, finance, law and marketing. Participants will also have the opportunity to tune into webinars to discuss any aerospace and business-related issues with people working in DARPA, the US military research arm, NASA, and Boeing technical fellows.

The Phase I registration deadline is April 4, 2018, and draft designs must be submitted by the 18th of that month. ®

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