Panama City Beach, Florida, USA
DragonAir’s Airboard 2 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 is also an an engineer and machinist. To date, they have no website.
Airboard 2 features a new, lightweight, compact aircraft made of carbon fiber with four pairs of coaxial motors turning 40-inch (1-m) propellers. Like the Airboard 1, the pilot stands and has two large “ski pole” controls. There is no cockpit yet, and the aircraft is very easy to fly. Several videos online confirm that there have been multiple manned test flights and some of the flights have reached a height of several hundred feet for approximately one minute.
Mariah Cain notes the improvements with the Airboard 2:
“We had a lot more power. It was like going from riding on top of a little purring kitten to riding on a beastly dragon.”
The original Airboard was a very low budget project with hardly any batteries “and I had to squeeze the trigger all the way to even get off the ground,” said Cain.
“With the next aircraft,” dubbed Airboard 2.0, “I barely had to touch the trigger and it shot me 10 to 20 feet [3–6 m] in the air.”
“We had a little more funding and a reason to build a new aircraft. So, we took things very slow at first,” she said. They “did a lot of configuration changes and coding changes… so we could figure out what the aircraft could do.”
Details of the earlier Airboard 1 can be found here. By early June, 2019, work on Airboard 3 was already underway.
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: GoFly Enters Phase II, Vertiflite, July/August 2018
- Article: Meet the Teams, GoFly Prize, Jan. 1, 2019
- Video: DragonAir Aborted Landing, DragonAir, Feb. 4, 2019
- Article: GoFly Hits 40, evtol.news, Feb. 6, 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
- Article: AHS Supports GoFly!, Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2017
- Article: Flying Solo: GoFly Advances Single-Passenger Air Mobility Solutions, Vertiflite, May/June 2019
- Article: GoFly Inspires Innovation, Vertiflite, May/June 2020
- Article: GoFly Teams Prepare to Fly Again, Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2020
- Article: DragonAir Stands Tall, Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2020