California-based light electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft developer Opener unveiled its Early Access Program (EAP), as the company works toward achieving commercialization of the BlackFly personal eVTOL aircraft.
Opener’s BlackFly Version 3 grabbed the attention of aviators and enthusiasts alike when it made two twilight flights over EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2022. A year later, the company has delivered a handful of BlackFly eVTOLs to customers and is inviting more interested aviators to partake in its all-new EAP program that enables select participants to not only take off in their own BlackFly, but, at the same time, provide Opener with feedback on every aspect of ownership and their experience with the aircraft.
Since 2011, Opener has been developing the BlackFly, which is based on a tilt-aircraft platform. The aircraft is designed for consumer recreation, short-distance flights through Class G airspace over uncongested areas. BlackFly is built to comply with the FAA Part 103 ultralight category, which means no pilot certificate is required to fly it, although the company states that each pilot is required to undergo comprehensive flight training.
“Flight in a BlackFly is amazing,” said Tim Lum, BlackFly owner and Opener's first EAP partner. “Even though I’ve been in and around aircraft for years, this is my first time as an official VTOL pilot and the connection with my BlackFly goes well beyond the aircraft itself. It's all the things that Opener does to assist me—from extensive flight training to delivery and ongoing support. The level of hands-on service is off the charts.”
The company is currently developing crewed and uncrewed systems for use in public service and military applications.