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DragonAir Airboard 2

Airboard 2
DragonAir
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.”

GoFly Goal

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.

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