Three years ago a company called Opener showed up at AirVenture with one of the weirdest flying machines ever, an E-VTOL called the BlackFly. This year at Oshkosh, they demonstrated it twice and the machine is in full production. They’ll sell you one so you can fly it for yourself. No word on price, though.


  1. I see the thing has different weights, speed, and range for Canada and US ultralights. It IS an interesting concept–taking off and landing on the curved belly. One wonders if it is scalable–could an even larger one be produced–and would it be able to lift the larger batteries required?

    Given the more liberal certification standards in Canada, one wonders why it wasn’t certified there first, THEN imported into the U.S.? (think Diamond Aircraft)

  2. Unconventional to say the least. Forward visibility appears to be nil at what look to be high deck angles. Am I seeing that correctly or is it just the limitations of seeing it only in a video? It does indeed resemble a black fly, but the landing also makes it look like an elephant seal. It’s impressive technology – basically a drone capable of carrying a human being and giving the human being a degree of autonomy, but not much. 🙂

  3. It definitely SOUNDS like a swarm of flies. Seems like the whole demo was done in “vertical” mode. I would have liked to see it transition to horizontal flight and make a pass or two across the field before transitioning again to vertical for landing.

  4. Speaking of the glide ratio of a stubby wing, an old timer when asked the glide ratio of a tripacer replied, “ you throw a cook stove out the door and follow it down.”

    • Correct you are, Sir. Mr. Piper’s Paper Pacer was not known for its soaring capability.

      A good friend of mine once described landing a Tri-Pacer thusly, “On final one is approaching and descending with the nose down. As you approach closer to the ground, you gradually raise the nose reducing the rate of descent so as to be at level flight when the wheels are a few inches above the pavement. Because the aircraft will descend happily with its nose up or down, one must plan this maneuver carefully as if one were to flare too high, you will no longer be planning a landing. You will be defending your honor.

  5. As long as it is ultralight category it will never be anything more than an expensive toy. You can’t fly an ultralight where most people would be commuting so that use is out. Also it has a payload (pilot) limit of 200lbs. At 215lbs I would be over the limit. Lastly, all of those open propellers spinning around would be very dangerous to curious bystanders or animals.

  6. That article/video was woefully short of information, and as I recall, the only performance specifications given were useful load and range. A quick visit to the Opener website reveals much more information such as: the Black Fly can cruise at 80 mph, but due to U.S. ultralight rules is limited to 62 mph in the U.S.; the Black Fly’s rate of climb and descent are both 500 fpm; the Black Fly has a ballistic recovery chute; the Black Fly is said to be amphibious yet should not be operated in the rain; etc. etc.

    I recommend a quick visit to Opener’s website for more information:

    • Too many moving parts. How about the chance of a bird strike? Large bug strike? Low altitude makes a ballistic recovery chute superfluous.

  7. I’ve have been following this since the Blackfly was announced at Oshkosh 2018. Back then they said sales would start in 2019. Still waiting. Opener provides very little in the way of updates which has been disappointing over the last 2 years. Sure COVID had its impact but Opener could have done a better job on communication. I signed up for email updates in 2018 and have yet to receive a single email.

    So manufacturing has started and they plan on building up inventory before starting sales but the price is still not known. Makes me wonder what this company’s customer support will be after the sale.

    On the plus side, Opener is not looking for investors or order deposits to fund the development and they are testing the heck out of this thing.

    Two big limitations for me is the 20 to 25 minute flight time and no wheels. I think Opener plans on selling a custom dolly for moving the Blackfly on the ground. The Blackfly is limited to flying around your home or home airport. I wonder if the price will be worth the limited capabilities.

    • “So manufacturing has started and they plan on building up inventory before starting sales but the price is still not known.”

      What kind of business model is that? I always thought that sales led production on successful startups, and that the sooner a company can establish income (sales) to offset development and production costs, the better. The company also implies that it has plenty of cash, which, these days, suggests a certain offshore investor/owner.

      • According to their web site, Opener plans on selling 25 Blackfly’s later in the year but are not accepting orders or having customers put on a wait list. Based on their past actions, I expect they will sell the 25 to a select group who will fly and provide feedback. Opener will not open sales to the general public until after some hours on the first 25. Maybe general sales will start mid next year. Maybe they will announce pricing at Airventure 2022.

  8. Seems a bit strange to say “They’re ready to sell you one”, when they can’t even tell us the price.

    OK, I’ll buy one. Now, what number goes on the check?

  9. Is this thing flying backwards in the video or extremely nose high with no visibility? Can’t figure it out.