As the disaster that was 2020 concludes and a barely-improved 2021 barely is set to unfold, it's as good a time as any to reflect on the one and speculate on the possible during the other.
The GoFly challenge, good as it was, appears a bridge to far. If you've a project that's fully-funded, then there might be an argument to throw some tens of thousands of dollars in pursuit of the chance of a million. However the original X-prize (for reusable spacecraft) was pursued by experimental types which were broadly speaking one and the same as the eventual product.
Nonetheless the dimensions required for the GoFly challenge (that don't include those of the operator) do not work in favour of designs that include the operator within their outline.
In simple terms, this is like a motor-race whose height restriction disallows all but the drop-head version of each car despite the fact that sales of the saloon far outweigh it.
Given the time, energy and funding required, therefore, it would be better to devote the new year to pursuit of an airframe most likely to appeal to the broadest market, given all that we have learned over the previous two.
And this is more likely to look something like that above, but I'm not going to say why. The reason for this is that during that period when Volocopter was transformed from a flying yoga-ball to a saleable product, they voluntarily went into a form of lockdown.
What I will say is that it's not overly different from everything else I've put together in recent history, although I appreciate that every variation of the original theme is likely to fuel scepticism.
But if your'e sceptical ~ which is humankind's default setting ~ then remember this:
The first successful mass-produced car was Old's "Mobile" and it was one of eleven different prototypes. Arguably nowadays the most proven eVTOL out there (and still as far off certified flight as everything else) is the BlackFly, which is one of eleven models and coincidentally the result of eleven years of development.
Finally, if it has a competitor in terms of flight-time, then that would have to be the recently-retired Flyer program from Kitty Hawk. And this itself was the last of ONE HUNDRED AND eleven prototype builds. Which in turn is nothing... the vacuum-cleaner that made the UK's richest industrialist cost him five thousand experimental types.
None of this is known to the world at large, who imagine products to have dropped from the cloud fully-formed.
Blessed are the consumers, for they will inherent the Earth.
And as for me, should I die in 2021 then I die trying.