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On the Community Forum, you’ll find moderated Q&A’s and real-time conversations with competitors. Recently, Gwen Lighter, CEO and founder of GoFly, joined the forum to answer innovators’ questions about the origins of the competition. Read on, then hit the discussion boards to tell us what sparked your own passion for flight  …

You know those kids who would make crazy contraptions and jump out of trees to see if they could fly? That was me.

Like most of you, I’ve always dreamed of flying. Throughout my life I have been inspired by the many heroes of flight, especially those who faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Take the Wright Brothers, who woke up every morning knowing that they would almost certainly fail. But every time they would go out to fly—every time—they brought with them extra materials, knowing they would need to rebuild. They had an unswerving drive to innovate and an unyielding will to persevere, and, after years of non-stop failure, they made their wildest dream come true.

Or take Neil Armstrong who at age 10 cut the grass at a cemetery every week to earn enough money to buy a model plane, and at age 16 worked three jobs to pay for flying lessons, and at age 22 flew 78 combat missions, and at age 39 was the first man to land on the moon. He taught us that to land on the moon— indeed to land all our big chances—we need to work hard and earn it.

And how about Bessie Coleman? Just like Neil Armstrong, Bessie Coleman wanted to fly more than anything else, but because no US flight school would admit her in 1920, she learned French so that she could take flying lessons in Paris—and upon her return, she was a champion aviator.

Throughout my life, these heroes have inspired me, and through them I have learned that true grit and transformative innovation can come from anyone, anywhere.

You know those kids who would make crazy contraptions and jump out of trees to see if they could fly? That was me.

So, I continued to read about hero innovators and their breakthrough technologies, and I began focusing on recent advances in control and stability systems, propulsion, lightweight materials, energy, and rapid prototyping. I realized that the convergence of these breakthrough technologies would open up innovation to engineers around the globe. That was when I knew that we had reached the technological moment when we had the ability to make that childhood dream of personal flight a reality. That was the moment that GoFly was born.

As GoFly started taking shape, I knew that there was a world of inventors, engineers, students, and builders who had the knowledge and passion to design and build a new generation of personal flying devices. Knowing that this sort of transformative innovation can be catalyzed with the right support, I approached Boeing to become the Grand Sponsor of GoFly. For over a year, we worked with Boeing to finalize the technical rules, prizing, programming, and Master and Mentor platform. With their support, as well as the collaboration of 21 international aerospace and engineering organizations, the GoFly Prize launched on September 26, 2017 at the SAE Aerotech Conference in Texas.

And here we are today, with innovators from all around the world coming together to make history.

There is only one more thing to say: go out and make your most audacious dream—the dream of pure human flight—a reality.

Ready, Set … GoFly.