EVTOL drone developer launches BlackFly with new CEO

By OPENER | January 14, 2020

OPENER, a developer of aerial vehicles for consumer travel, has announced the appointment of Ben Diachun as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). OPENER is producing BlackFly, the world’s first fixed-wing, all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) personal ultralight aircraft. Founder and former CEO, Marcus Leng, will oversee next-generation manufacturing and international operations as Chairman of the Board. 

“During this transformative time, there is no better person to guide OPENER than Ben Diachun,” said Marcus Leng, OPENER founder and chairman. “Ben is a proven leader in the aerospace industry, he gets things done, and he has the innate ability to inspire everyone around him. Ben has the technical proficiency and corporate know-how that OPENER needs as we expand operations, produce vehicles, and grow the company.”

BlackFly is designed to easily takeoff and land in small areas and travel distances of up to 40 miles at a speed of 80+ mph (US restricted performance: 25 miles/62 mph). The vehicles are simple to master and require no formal licensing (US only). 

“OPENER is pioneering a new industry with BlackFly. I am truly honored to lead the company into production, establish sales initiatives, and secure our market position,” Ben Diachun said. “We have the opportunity to show the world that three-dimensional transportation is real. A big part of my job is to seize this vast opportunity and successfully bring a safe and exciting flying vehicle to market.”

Since joining OPENER as company president in May, 2019, Ben Diachun has deployed his unparalleled engineering experience to improve manufacturing processes, enhance efficiency to meet future demands, and grow the company’s team. Ben comes from Scaled Composites, where he participated in key engineering design, directed flight testing, and stepped up into leadership roles.  Ben is recognized for taking 15 new aircraft types from concept to first flight in his 16 years at Scaled.

Diachun was part of the team that was awarded the Robert J. Collier Trophy in 2004 for the development of SpaceShipOne. In 2014, he was named in Aviation Week’s “40 Under Forty”. Since 2016, Ben has served on the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics Industrial Advisory Council at Purdue University. Diachun joined the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Board of Directors in 2018 and received the Outstanding Mechanical Engineer Award at Purdue University in 2019.