Competition has proven a powerful means to develop technology and our attitudes toward it.
The Orteig Prize inspired Lindbergh to cross the Atlantic and the entire world to see the potential of air travel. The DARPA Grand Challenge provided the seed for autonomous vehicles and opened our eyes to self-driving cars. And the X-Prize brought space flight to the private sector and spawned the idea of space tourism.
Air racing is not new – the first international meet was held in France in 1909. The subsequent Schneider Trophy seaplane races were widely accredited for the development of the streamlined shapes and liquid-cooled engines of modern aircraft, which became the marker of a modern nation.
Urban air racing has the potential to make personal air-mobility a reality. By demonstrating the vehicles, routes, and rules of the air in the real world – it will reveal the unknowns that remain in the way, and reshape our perceptions of its possibilities.