Aircraft

GoFly is a NoFly, but Japan's Tetra 3 wins $100k Disruptor award

GoFly is a NoFly, but Japan's ...
Like a folded-up quadcopter with a motorbike seat on top, the teTra 3 is a remarkable-looking flight device
Like a folded-up quadcopter with a motorbike seat on top, the teTra 3 is a remarkable-looking flight device
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teTra 3, winner of the Pratt & Whitney Disruptor award
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teTra 3, winner of the Pratt & Whitney Disruptor award
Japan's Tetra Aviation team celebrates its US$100,000 win
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Japan's Tetra Aviation team celebrates its US$100,000 win
Like a folded-up quadcopter with a motorbike seat on top, the teTra 3 is a remarkable-looking flight device
3/3
Like a folded-up quadcopter with a motorbike seat on top, the teTra 3 is a remarkable-looking flight device
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The final fly-off in Boeing's US$2 million-dollar GoFly personal flight contest was postponed yesterday due to high winds, but one Japanese team still went home with a substantial check to put towards further research and development.

The 854 initial team entries from 103 countries were whittled down to just 24 for the hotly anticipated grand prize fly-off, in which each team was prepared to demonstrate its manned flying machines' performance, speed, endurance, quietness, compactness and VTOL capabilities, with extra marks awarded for a nebulous "experience of open air flight" criterion.

With quadcopter-inspired manned flight devices seemingly popping up all over the place, GoFly was designed to sort the wheat from the chaff, giving teams an internationally recognized contest to compete in, and serious prize money to vie for, as well as a high-profile event in which to test these next-gen aircraft.

Japan's Tetra Aviation team celebrates its US$100,000 win
Japan's Tetra Aviation team celebrates its US$100,000 win

Unfortunately, wind conditions over the weekend made it impossible for the fly-off to go ahead as planned, so the GoFly team has postponed the event, giving teams some extra time to improve their designs and work some bugs out. But one team didn't go home empty-handed; the Japanese teTra Aviation team took home the Pratt & Whitney Disruptor award and a check for US$100,000.

The team's teTra 3 is indeed a strange-looking device. Imagine, perhaps, a motorcycle-style seating arrangement placed on a folded-up quadcopter airframe. The two forward rotors point downward, while the two rear ones are steeply angled such that about 70-80 percent of their thrust pushes forward instead of downward. Tilted backwards, you could fly it almost like a regular quad, but it's built more for high-speed forward flight than for hovering, and it's got a small wing to contribute vertical lift as airspeed picks up.

teTra 3, winner of the Pratt & Whitney Disruptor award
teTra 3, winner of the Pratt & Whitney Disruptor award

"Innovation has always been at the core of our DNA at Pratt & Whitney and we applaud GoFly's efforts to transform the industry," confirmed Geoff Hunt, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Pratt & Whitney. "We're proud to sponsor such an exceptional competition and we designed the Disruptor Award to recognize the team that challenged the status quo, delivered unique thinking into a complex issue and considered safety, reliability, durability and system integration."

GoFly has not yet proposed a date for the re-run of the grand prize fly-off, so US$1.5 million is still up for grabs. US$1 million of that will go to the overall fly-off winner, with US$250,000 each going to the quietest and smallest aircraft that pass a series of flight tests with either a pilot or a weighted dummy on board.

The tests, which must be knocked off in a single flight, include vertical takeoff and landing inside a 30-foot diameter, 12-foot high virtual cylinder (9.1 x 3.7 m), as well as a speed run of six laps around a marked course, and a "touch & go" aborted landing simulation - as well as continuing to hover to demonstrate a flight endurance of more than 20 minutes. Contestants must then prove they've landed with enough fuel or battery left for an additional ten minutes of reserve flight. See the GoFly site for a full run-down of test criteria.

Source: GoFly

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7 comments
Jose Gros
An updated evrsion of Scroggs' 'Flying Dart', patent US1848578, with a Jet in the power range of BD-5J, 300, lbf, with a 'trompe' arrangement, or a ducted fan, with wingspan limited to 250 cm, maximum on road, could make an alternative to 'Flying motorcycle', as long as the landing speed is acceptable, not as Bumble Bee III, having an stall speed over maximum on roads, also 'As long as the price is right', song by 'Doc Feelgood'.
buzzclick
24 finalists from 854 entries is serious stuff, and the images are difficult to make out what the darn thing looks like or how it does what it does, but I'm sure it's a substantial contender for the top prize if it already has 100 grand. I am pleased to see they took noise into consideration, but wondering if the rear rotors are tiltable or fixed. One thing struck me when I read the piece: the event had to be postponed because it was a windy weekend. Regular aircraft can handle some wind gales and snow, but these flyers get grounded if the breeze is too strong. Hmm, that's not going to be an easy problem to solve.
Pmeon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj-Iwv5NJKg
This is how it's done.
Towerman
@buzzclick WRT quad copters not being stable. Not true at all whatsoever, Multiorotors succeeds any other for of flying because Quadcopter technology is so advanced that the flight controllers compensates for weather effects in a split second, so they are in fact more stable than many other platforms that would not be able to handle more harsh weather. The reason it is postponed is because the requirements to win the competition is high.

High winds WILL affect flight times very much just as any aircraft as the craft needs to expend more energy than in normal conditions, so chances to meet the flight times set out to be the competition criteria will be decreased.
Towerman
This is excellent and the teTra3 looks magnificent, when will the competition Resume. I need to see them all fly ! ! ! !
Signguy
None of these will ever make it to regular use; too dangerous; the only thing that will work is when we figure out how to make a Star Trek Transporter. Just a matter of time...
Towerman
@Signguy
Clearly you are way behind in terms of the technology, These designs will work perfectly fine, all based on well established and proven technology.
You got a lot to learn still ;)
A star trek transporter... ? lol... Nice dream :)