The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

According to Opener, the BlackFly prototype has flown more than 23,000 miles and more than 2,300 flights with a full payload since first flight in August 2014. The full-length propulsion system has completed 40,000 flight cycles. 

The company says that in the U.S., the single-seat "personal aerial vehicle" is categorized as an ultralight, for which no pilot license is required. Transport Canada has designated the aircraft as a basic ultralight, for which an ultralight pilot license is required. With a maximum gross takeoff weight of 313 pounds, BlackFly exceeds the weight limit for an ultralight in the U.S. Opener says that it has been categorized as an "amphibious ultralight" for which the weight limit is higher.

Opener says it will be ready to take orders for the BlackFly during 2019, but, as of July 2019, no further details had been provided.

Outlook

Our objective assessment of this program’s probable success.

FutureFlight assesses the probability of success for a new aircraft program by considering the following criteria:

  • Total investment funds available in proportion to the anticipated cost of getting an aircraft certified and in service
  • A company’s in-house capability (in terms of numbers of engineers, technical staff, and customer support teams)
  • The past experience of the company and its senior leadership in developing aircraft
  • The caliber and past experience of key program partners
  • Whether key aircraft systems have been selected and are available for use
  • Whether the preliminary design review has been completed
  • Whether the design for the full-scale prototype has been completed
  • Whether the type certification process has been formally initiated with an appropriate regulator
  • Whether the company has achieved a first flight with a full-scale prototype
  • The number of hours logged in a flight test program
  • Whether type certification has been achieved
  • The number of orders and commitment received for the aircraft
  • Whether the company has adequate facilities to begin series production of the aircraft
Our Methodology

Opener appears to have made good progress in the development of the BlackFly since 2014 and claims to be on the cusp of taking what it categorizes as a "personal aerial vehicle" to market. However, the company has still not been entirely clear how an aircraft that appears to be mainly for land use can be categorized as an "amphibious ultralight." Nor, has the company fully explained what level of training will be required of owners. Opener needs to be more transparent on these points to make a more compelling case for the design's prospects for commercial success.

BlackFly Models

BlackFly Specifications

local vtol Multicopter

Performance

  • Passenger Capacity
    1
  • Range
    40 mi
  • Cruise Speed
    80 mph
  • Powerplant Type
    n/a
  • Power Source
    electric
  • Endurance
    n/a
  • Max Altitude
    n/a
  • Takeoff Distance
    n/a
  • Landing Distance
    n/a
  • Empty Weight
    n/a
  • MGTOW
    n/a
  • Payload Weight
    n/a

Dimensions

  • Length
    n/a
  • Width
    n/a
  • Height
    n/a
  • Wingspan
    n/a

Opener has categorized BlackFly as an ultralight and said it can be flown by people who do not hold a pilot's license (under U.S. ultralight rulesl.. The company will require owners to take some basic training with the aircraft, and it will provide this training.

Founder Marcus Leng achieved first flight with a prototype eVTOL aircraft in October 2011 at his then-headquarters in Warkworth, Canada. In September 2014, the company was restructured as Opener and relocated most of its operations to Palo Alto, California. The company said the aircraft would be available for purchase in 2019, but that had yet to happen as of early 2020.

Key Personnel

Opener CEO Ben Diachun
Ben Diachun

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)