By Will Guisbond

Will is a mathematics student at the University of Vermont, focusing on data journalism and system analytics. He has been flying since he was 14 years old and currently holds his private certificate. Follow him on Twitter @willguisbond.

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Opener to demo its BlackFly eVTOL at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Palo Alto, California-based Opener announced Tuesday that it will conduct the first public crewed demonstration flight of its BlackFly eVTOL aircraft next week at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture 2021 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

At the last EAA AirVenture in 2019, Opener said its BlackFly program had already flown over 23,000 miles (37,000 kilometers) across more than 2,300 flights. At this point, according to the company’s website, the model has flown over 4,000 payload-carrying flights for a total of 34,000 miles (around 55,000 km). Opener said its ultralight, amphibious-capable personal air vehicles can easily take off and land on small areas and travel distances of over 40 miles (65 km) at speeds of up to 75 mph (120 km/h), although restricted to 25 miles (40 km) and 62 mph (100 km/h) in the U.S.

Opener’s BlackFly model, which is now in its third iteration, is the brainchild of CEO Marcus Leng, who began developing eVTOL vehicles in his yard when he was living outside of Toronto. Leng claims that first prototype, the SkyKar Rebel, made history in October 2011 as the first winged all-electric VTOL aircraft to ever lift a person. Leng then began working on the BlackFly and in 2014 relocated the program to Silicon Valley, where Opener was officially founded with assistance from Google co-founder Larry Page.

Opener BlackFly in flight
Opener revealed the latest generation of its BlackFly personal eVTOL in 2018, but has been mostly quiet for the past two years. Screenshot via YouTube

Opener has had a regular presence at AirVenture over the years, so it makes sense for the company to utilize the world’s biggest aviation celebration as a platform to showcase its product. The most recent BlackFly aircraft was announced at AirVenture 2018, and as a continued signal of the Opener-EAA partnership, the company donated one of its aircraft to EAA’s Aviation Museum in Oshkosh in 2019.

However, since then, the company has largely been in stealth mode, emerging on Twitter last year to say only, “we’ve been busy.”  Although Opener made an appearance in a New York Times article on “flying cars” last month, this upcoming demonstration will serve as an important public re-entry for Opener and its BlackFly program.

The demonstration flight is scheduled during the daily AirVenture airshow on Tuesday, July 27, around 3 p.m. CT. eVTOL.com will be on-site covering this historic flight as well as the rest of the show.

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6 Comments

  1. I almost for for about the BlackFly. I was excited about them two years ago. I hope we hear more about them from now on.

  2. Opener sent me an email saying the BlackFly would be available for sale this fall; and included a copy of FAA Part 103 with their information. Suggesting a deviation from part 103.15 no flying in congested areas will need an exemption for the BlackFly. I filed an exemption request today 7/22/2021 for the BlackFly for this pilot with the FAA rules department; to blend into traffic anywhere the pilot knows it is safe to do so. The FAA email says the FAA has 120 days to reply; or by November 19, 2021; I should have an answer from the FAA; if not sooner.

  3. The blackfly is the dream of personal flying anywhere becoming reality. I appreciate Opener‘s vision in this regard.
    I know there are many regulations and things to develop and clarify before this can work, but just imagine: In the beginning of the 20th century Alberto Santos-Dumont was flying his ballon around Paris.

  4. I’ve been watching all the videos and I’ve been wanting one every since the first one came out.. I’ve got to have on

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