Opener founder and CEO Marcus Leng has been recognized for his pioneering work on the BlackFly personal eVTOL aircraft with the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA’s) 2019 August Raspet Award.
Since 1960, the Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award has been presented every year to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of light aircraft design. Leng joins other aviation luminaries including Burt Rutan, Dick VanGrunsven, and Curtiss Pitts in receiving the award.
“Marcus Leng has pioneered a new era in manned flight with the development of BlackFly,” stated EAA’s Charlie Becker in a press release. “His unique approach has created an all-electric VTOL ultralight aircraft that has truly advanced light aircraft design.”
Leng said he was “honored” to receive the award for his work on developing an affordable eVTOL aircraft. “I began this endeavor to build vehicles that I would like to fly,” he explained. “It has been an unbelievable journey, but would not have been possible without the incredibly dedicated and talented Opener team.”
The award is named for the late Dr. August “Gus” Raspet, a professor at Mississippi State University and avid light aircraft enthusiast. Raspet was instrumental in elevating the aeronautical engineering program at Mississippi A&M College, as it was originally known, into one of the nation’s preeminent aerophysics research centers.