Airboard 1 & 2
Panama City Beach, Florida, USA
DragonAir’s Airboard 1 is a one person electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) hoverbike that is part of the GoFly competition. The team includes Jeff Elkins who is the creator and designer, and began working on his eVTOL aircraft in 2015. Mariah Cain is the co-designer, pilot and project manager. Ray Brandes is the design specialist and he is also an an engineer and machinist. To date, they have no website.
Airboard 1 has eight sets of vertical tractor and pusher propellers in an open number sign (#) configuration. There are eight long landing skis. The pilot stands and has two large “ski pole” controls. There is no cockpit yet the aircraft is very easy to fly. Several videos online confirms there has been multiple manned test flights and some of the flights have reached a height of several hundred feet for approximately one minute.
The GoFly Prize was started in September 2017 and is a worldwide competition to make a personal flying device which must be safe, quiet, ultra-compact, user-friendly and near-VTOL—capable of carrying a single person for a distance of 20 miles without refueling or recharging. The function and design are up to innovator teams. There are $2 million USD (U.S. dollars) in prizes. The main sponsor is Boeing.
Phase I includes ten (10) $20K prizes awarded based on written technical specifications. Phase II includes five (5) $50K prizes awarded to Teams with the best VTOL demonstration and revised Phase I materials. Phase III unveils the Grand Prize Winner, awarded at the Final Fly-Off in the fall of 2019. Phase I included over 600 Innovators from over thirty (30) countries across six (6) continents who submitted their designs for the GoFly competition.
Phase II of the GoFly community is comprised of more than 3,500 innovators from 101 countries across the globe. Of these innovators, thirty-one (31) Phase II Teams across sixteen (16) countries submitted entries for review by a panel of experts across two (2) rounds of rigorous judging. The Phase II teams were required to submit visual and written documentation detailing their personal flyer prototypes. It’s the first time physical prototypes were introduced into the challenge and this crucial step brought everyone closer to the Final Fly-Off.
The GoFly Prize challenge was issued in September 2017; however, the DragonAir team only learned about the prize in April 2018. Even though they missed the Phase I submissions deadline, the team applied for and were admitted into Phase II competition on March 26, 2019. On March 26, 2019 GoFly Prize announced that DragonAir completed Phase II of the GoFly challenge and will receive $50,000.00 USD in prizes.
The team has stated that their DragonAir eVTOL aircraft will most likely be sold first to people as a personal flyer for recreational use and they also feel the uses of their aircraft can easily expand into the agriculture industry and search and rescue operations and possibly more.
- DragonAir YouTube Channel
- GoFly Prize website
- Video: Woman Flies Drone!, Jeff Elkins, Jul. 16, 2017
- Video: Mariah Cain Training on the MegaDrone, Jeff Elkins, Jul. 12, 2017
- Article: Meet the Teams, GoFly Prize, Jan. 1, 2019
- Video: DragonAir Aborted Landing, DragonAir, Feb. 4, 2019
- Article: Meet the women making “personal flying machines” a reality, Fast Company, Mar. 26, 2019
- Article: Meet the 5 Winners Of GoFly Phase II, GoFly Prize, Mar. 26, 2019
- Video: GoFly Prize: Announcing the Phase II Winners, GoFlyPrize, Mar. 26, 2019
- Article: Panama City Beach tech company a finalist for $1 million Boeing competition to help humans fly, Panama City News Harold, Apr. 1, 2019
- Video: Airboard DragonAir #GoFlyPrize, Jeff Elkins, Apr. 5, 2019
- Article: Meet The Teams, GoFly Prize, Apr. 9, 2019
- Article: Panama City Team Dragonair takes off in a flying machine that belongs in a fantasy movie, Tallahassee Democrat, May 3, 2019