Boeing is sponsoring the GoFly competition, aiming to encourage companies and inventors to push the boundaries of innovation, engineering, and transportation to “create a personal flying device for anyone, anywhere”.

The GoFly website says: “We’re calling on the world’s greatest thinkers, designers, engineers, and inventors to make the impossible possible. Today we look to the sky and say, ‘That plane is flying’. We challenge innovators around the world to create a device that makes us look to the sky and say, ‘That person is flying’.”

GoFly says it welcomes revolutionary design, and that its Technical Rules provide room for invention.

The challenge

The personal flying device must be safe, quiet, ultra-compact, and near-VTOL — capable of carrying a single person for a distance of 20 miles without refuelling or recharging. The invention should be user-friendly and, “of course, provide the thrill of flight”. Outside of these requirements, the function and design are up to innovator teams.

Over the next two years, individuals and teams from around the globe will compete for $2 million in prizes, accessing global experts to bring their ideas to life.

Prizes will be awarded in three stages:

  • Stage one will include 10 $20,000 prizes based on written technical specifications
  • Stage two will include four $50,000 prizes awarded to teams with the best prototypes
  • Stage three will see a fly-off in the autumn of 2019 with a $1 million prize for the best overall idea, $250,000 for the quietest entry, $250,000 for the smallest, and $100,000 for the most state-of-the-art design

GoFly founder Gwen Lighter told the BBC: “We see ourselves as the catalyst for kick-starting a future for personal flying devices, but at the end of two years we do not believe you will be able to go into a store and buy one.”