California-based company Opener debuted the BlackFly ahead of the 2018 EAA AirVenture Expo in Oshkosh, Wis. Opener plans to produce the zero-emission personal aerial vehicle domestically (Image source: Opener).

Opener unveils zero-emission, all-electric personal aerial vehicle

The fixed-wing BlackFly will require no formal licensing to operate.
This week, Opener, Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based developer of consumer aero vehicles, debuted their zero-emission BlackFly prototype – and the latest foray into the personal mobility industry.

Opener’s BlackFly is the world’s first ultralight, all-electric, fixed-wing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. According to the company, the BlackFly personal aerial vehicle (PAV), is a single-seater with simple controls and requires no formal licensing (in the United States) or special skills to operate safely. It has a range of up to 25 miles at a US-restricted speed of 62 miles per hour.

The BlackFly is primarily designed to operate from small grassy areas, but it also has full amphibious capabilities. The aircraft has eight propulsion systems, spread across two wings for multiple-failure security. It also has geofence capabilities and an automatic return-to-home feature.

According to Opener, the BlackFly can fit within a small trailer and be prepped for flight in 30 minutes.

There is even a ballistic parachute option.

The Opener team has quietly spent the last nine years designing, developing, and testing new innovative technologies that led to the creation of the BlackFly – completing more than 1,400 flights and travelling more than 12,000 miles with a payload onboard.

One of the key concepts behind the aircraft is a fault-tolerant design with triple modular redundancy.

Triple modular redundancy refers to when three separate systems perform the same function. The three outputs are then processed, with the ideal output from one system being used. This is especially valuable if there is a breakdown or failure in one of the three systems.

“Opener is re-energizing the art of flight with a safe and affordable flying vehicle that can free its operators from the everyday restrictions of ground transportation,” says Marcus Leng, CEO of Opener.

“We will offer competitive pricing in an endeavor to democratize three-dimensional personal transportation. Safety has been our primary driving goal in the development of this new technology. Opener will be introducing this innovation in a controlled and responsible manner.  Even though not required by FAA regulations, BlackFly operators will be required to successfully complete the FAA Private Pilot written examination and also complete company-mandated vehicle familiarization and operator training.”

The aircraft will be manufactured domestically, and the company plans to price the BlackFly near the cost of a sport utility vehicle once large-scale production begins.

The BlackFly has a low noise signature and Super Charge capabilities, potentially charging in less than 30 minutes. Opener’s long-term vision is to integrate these vehicles into a rural/urban commuting networks powered by renewable energy sources.

The company will be displaying the vehicles from July 23 to July 29 at the 2018 EAA AirVenture Expo in Oshkosh, Wis.


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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

Contact him regarding any article or collaboration ideas by e-mail at

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