Ben Diachun, who joined Opener as president in May 2019, is moving into the CEO position as the company works to bring its BlackFly personal eVTOL to market.
Founder and former CEO Marcus Leng will now oversee manufacturing and international operations as chairman of the board of the company, which launched in Canada but is now headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley.
“During this transformative time, there is no better person to guide Opener than Ben Diachun,” stated Leng in a press release announcing the appointment. “Ben has the technical proficiency and corporate know-how that Opener needs as we expand operations, produce vehicles, and grow the company.”
Diachun joined Opener last year from Scaled Composites, the aerospace company founded by Burt Rutan. Over his 16 years at Scaled, he contributed design and engineering for 15 new aircraft types while stepping into progressively more responsible leadership roles.
In an interview with eVTOL.com last year, he described his work at Scaled as a “dream job,” but said that moving to Opener felt “like an even bigger dream job.”
“I’m going to have yet another career at Opener with everything that’s happening in eVTOL,” he said. “There are a lot of players, and Opener is right up there at the top of the list of companies that actually have a real team, have real hardware, have done something.”
Opener’s BlackFly is a personal eVTOL designed to travel up to 40 miles (64 kilometers) at speeds of over 80 mph (128 km/h), although the company expects that its performance as an ultralight aircraft in the U.S. will be restricted to 25 miles (40 km) and 62 mph (100 km/h). The company said it has flown more than 31,000 miles (50,000 km) over more than 2,800 test flights.
Since joining Opener as president, Diachun is said to have focused on improving manufacturing processes, enhancing efficiency to meet future demands, and growing Opener’s team.
“Opener is pioneering a new industry with BlackFly. I am truly honored to lead the company into production, establish sales initiatives, and secure our market position,” Diachun stated in the company’s latest press release.
“We have the opportunity to show the world that three-dimensional transportation is real. A big part of my job is to seize this vast opportunity and successfully bring a safe and exciting flying vehicle to market.”