The GoFly challenge, a $2m global competition to create a personal flying device, will reach its conclusion on February 29 with a final fly off.

The competition, launched in 2017, has acted as an innovation incubator which is supported by organisations including Boeing, Dell Technologies and the Society of Women Engineers. The GoFly competition includes teams from around the world with more than 3,700 innovators from 103 countries creating personal flyers.

The GoFly Final Fly Off is set to take place this weekend (February 27-29, 2020) at Moffett Federal Airfield at NASA’s Ames Research Center. The GoFly Prize is a $2 million global competition to create personal flyers with more than 850 teams from across the globe entering the multi-phase challenge. Throughout the three-day Fly Off event, the celebration of innovation will include live air shows with personal flyers, innovation showcases, a pararescue demonstration from the California Air National Guard, and keynotes with industry leaders.

Creating a new industry and a better world

GoFly CEO Gwen Lighter said the competition was creating a community for people to build revolutionary technology which creates a whole new industry – and a better world.

“When we say personal flyers, we’re absolutely talking about the stuff of your dreams,” she explained. “We’re talking about the jetpacks and the flying motorcycles and the human carrying drones and the flying platforms. GoFly supports all of our teams by providing master lectures and mentors to work directly with our teams, as well as a whole host of free and discounted software and services and products, so that our innovators from all around the globe have the tools that they need to create this revolutionary technology.”

The team at GoFly has already awarded five prizes to prototype teams that are flying. The Final Fly Off, will occur on February 29 2020.

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind will occur on Leap Day 2020 in the San Francisco Bay area, where all of the teams come to congregate and to fly through our fly off course, and we crown the winners based on safety, size, noise and speed and there are over $1.6 million still left to win at that final fly off.”

Igniting the interest of a younger generation

Lighter said the competition had sparked the interest of a younger generation, with more than 100 universities participating around the world.

“We also receive letters from 10 year olds and eight year olds and 14 year olds saying ‘Can I join?’” she added. “GoFly is in the process of creating stem programming for the next generation. So while GoFly is actively mentoring and supporting our teams around the world, we also are developing programming for the STEM set.”

She added the Final Fly day would also include STEM activities and family day activities for those younger ones who are interested in aerospace and engineering and design and building to be able to have hands on experience.