The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Wind Cancels GoFly Final Fly-Off As Tetra Aviation Wins Disruptor Award

Japan’s Tetra Aviation won the $100,000 Pratt & Whitney Disruptor Award in the GoFly Final Fly-Off on February 29. However, the main $1 million grand prize was not awarded at the event held at Moffett Federal Airfield at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, after windy conditions interrupted the planned demonstration flights.

Organizers said that they expect to announce an overall winner “in the coming months” but did not explain how the final result will be decided. Also still be to be determined are the $250,000 prize winners for the quietest and the smallest compliant GoFly entries.

Tetra Aviation, led by University of Tokyo doctoral student Tasuku Nakai, demonstrated its personal aircraft. The disruptor prize was awarded for “disruptive advancement of the state of the art.”

The Tetra aircraft is a single-seat eVTOL design with four large encased tilting propellers. The company, which was formed in June 2018, has not published any projected performance details or indicated what the next steps might be for its project.

The Final Flyoff event was set to be the culmination of a two-year process in which 854 teams from 103 countries have competed with designs for various aircraft, mainly vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) designs. Ten Phase I winners were announced in 2018, each taking a $20,000 prize; and in March 2019, five Phase II winners each took $50,000 in prize money. Boeing is the overall sponsor for the competition.

“The [Tetra] team displayed the technical design and creative prowess that we set out to inspire when we created the GoFly Prize,” said GoFly founder and CEO Gwen Lighter. “Tetra created a personal flyer and we look forward to supporting them as they take the next steps towards revolutionizing human mobility.”