Boeing really wants to make personal jetpacks a thing, and they’re asking for your help.
Along with airline booking site GoFly, Boeing is sponsoring the GoFly Prize, a two-year competition in which teams compete for $2 million in prizes as they attempt to invent a personal flying device for the mass market.
You don’t need to be an aerospace engineer to enter — anyone over 18 who is not a Boeing employee can be part of a team.
Teams will be challenged to create a “safe, easy-to-use personal flying device” according to Boeing. The devices will be judged on performance, compactness, noise, user experience, and ability to achieve “near-vertical” takeoff and landing.
The competition will take place in three phases, with incremental monetary prizes awarded to teams with the best plans and prototypes. The deadline to register for phase 1 of the competition is April 4, 2018. The grand prize winner will be unveiled at a final “fly-off” event in 2019.
The race to create the coveted jetpacks of science fiction has been on for a while, but so far, nobody’s nailed the concept. Australian company Jetpack Aviation produces what it claims are “the world’s first jetpacks,” but the product can only fly for up to 10 minutes and requires extensive training to use. Most other devices that claim to be “jetpacks” are actually water-powered.
Creating a truly user-friendly, comfortable and quiet version of what was once a figment of science fiction will be a difficult task, but with Boeing’s monetary incentive, ambitious civilians are sure to come up with something.