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GoAERO Launches “Major USD2 Million Competition to Inspire Formation of Emergency Response Flyers”

Updated: Apr 15

By Chris Stonor

GoAERO, a humanitarian-driven company, has launched a major three-year global competition, that is “a global call to entrepreneurs, engineers, students and businesses to design, develop and build safe, portable, autonomy-enabled flyers that can perform a wide array of rescue missions and close a critical gap in emergency response technology,” reports a press release. The teams will compete for a major USD2 million or more total prize.

This “Flight for Good” competition was launched at the Vertical Flight Society (VFS) 2024 Transformative Conference that took place last week (February 6th-8th) in Santa Clara, California. 

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Gwen Lighter, CEO of GoAERO, commented, “Emergency responders put their lives on the line to help those in need. They deserve the best, most capable technologies that can perform a wide array of rescue missions.”

She continued, “The prize hopes to inspire and catalyse the creation of affordable, portable, versatile, and autonomy-enabled Emergency Response Flyers that will help close a critical gap in emergency response technology.”

This GoAERO award is supported by a network of internationally recognised leaders in aerospace including Boeing, NASA, RTX, Iridium and XWing alongside other aerospace organisations. As part of the competition, teams will have access to mentors and technical experts from this network, as well as trainings, lectures and software.

Speaking at the VFS Conference alongside Lighter, Bob Pearce, Associate Administrator of Aeronautics Research Mission, NASA ARMD, added, “GoAERO shares in our vision that aviation can be harnessed to explore, discover and build a better future for humanity.”

The competition consists of three stages. 

Stage 1: Requires the digital submission of technical papers. 

Stage 2: A building phase that requires concept validation through a sub-scale or full-scale flyer. 

Stage 3: The last stage which features a “Final Fly-Off”, during which teams must complete five real-world emergency response missions with their flyers.

During this final phase, flyers will be judged on precision, productivity, adversity, adaptation and maneuvering. The team that accumulates the most points across each category will win the USD750,000 Top Prize. Teams also have the opportunity to win a USD100,000 Disruptor Award from RTX and a USD100,000 Autonomy Award. Other monetary prizes will be given out throughout the competition.

Announcement at VFS Conference 

(Credit: Vertical Flight Society)


The company’s mission is both to originate innovative aerial solutions that respond to challenges posed by natural disasters, medical emergencies, climate change and humanitarian crises, as well as to create a collaborative network across industry, government and aviation and first responder organisations to ensure the safe and effective future deployment of such life-saving aircraft.

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