The growing space of VTOL personal electric aircraft has got yet another entry from a new startup. This latest working prototype of a new ultralight all-electric personal VTOL aircraft has about 25 miles of range.
We have identified a trend since back in 2016: ‘Electric VTOL aircraft are coming: money is flowing to several startups developing different designs‘.
Between Uber Elevate and several other startups, there are many different personal electric aircraft vehicles in development and few of them have some impressive working prototypes.
Opener is adding itself to the list with the unveiling of its BlackFly, which they describe as “the world’s first ultralight all-electric fixed-wing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.”
They have been developing the aircraft for 9 years in stealth mode and they are just now stepping out into the light to show what they have been working on.
They released some impressive footage of a working prototype of the electric aircraft:
Marcus Leng, CEO of Opener, commented in a press release for the unveiling:
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. 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 company says that the BlackFly is “simple to master and requires no formal licensing (in USA) or special skills to operate safely.”
They have also been working on charging stations that can charge the aircraft’s battery pack in about 30 minutes:
The battery powers eight propulsion systems, spread across two wings, which provides multiple-failure security. It is capable to travel up to 25 miles on a single charge at a speed of 62 mph (USA restriction).
They have put the aircraft through “years of continuous testing, combined with 1,400+ flights and 12,000+ miles flown”
Opener has for a long-term vision to “integrate these highly-efficient vehicles into a rural/urban commuting network.” They haven’t offered a timeline for when it is going to be commercially available.
In the meantime, people will be able to look at the BlackFly at the 2018 EAA AirVenture Convention in Oshkosh, WI from July 23 to July 29, 2018.