Air-legal, all-electric “flying car” announced in the US

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A fully electric, piloted “flying car” – it’s true, watch the video! – has just qualified as an ultralight aircraft for use in the US.

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OK – so I am now going to eat my words that flying cars ‘will not happen in my lifetime’ (ABC 774 radio, Monday 2.7.18).

Source: https://www.opener.aero/images/media

So what’s happened to make me say that? Just watch this:

That video shows the all-electric BlackFly VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) ultralight aircraft in full flight, with actual human pilots. (Unlike many other promotional videos for ‘flying cars’ that show them operating as uncrewed drones).

The BlackFly is built by OPENER Inc. in the US, and recent press releases from them announce that it has just qualified as an ultralight aircraft for use in the US.

Designed as a ‘single-seat Personal Aerial Vehicle (PAV)’, OPENER Inc. state that the BlackFly “… is simple to master and requires no formal licensing (in USA) or special skills to operate safely.”

At 1.55m long and 1.6m wide and a take-off run of 1m, it can take off from almost anywhere.

As well as being able to fly, the “car” also has full freshwater amphibious capabilities. But it is principally designed to operate from small grassy areas and travel distances of up to 40km at speeds up to 100km/h on an 8kWh battery.

With the optional 12kWh battery, these figures increase to a 64km range at up to 130kmh. Recharge time for a 20-80 per cent charge of the 12kWh battery (using their fast-charge system) is just 25 minutes. Surprisingly, the energy consumption per km is quoted as being equivalent to a road-going EV.

While the announcement is a surprise, OPENER Inc has been developing their aircraft very quietly over the last nine years. The BlackFly has in fact done over 1,400 flights, covering more than 19,000km.

With eight propellers and multiple-failure redundancy systems (including a ‘ballistic parachute’ option), it seems that personal flying transport may be a realisable dream in the not-too-distant future after all!

For further information on OPENER Inc and the BlackFly – see https://www.opener.aero/

Bryce Gaton is the National Newsletter Editor for the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA) and is a qualified secondary science educator as well as a Registered Electrical Contractor and electrical trade teacher. He has been working in the EV sector for 10 years, and currently works part-time for the Melbourne School of Engineering as their EV safe work practice trainer/supervisor. He regularly writes on EV topics for and on behalf of both the AEVA and ATA. Bryce also owns and drives two EVs – a Nissan Leaf for commuting and a converted Citroen van for work.

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19 Comments
  1. Ren Stimpy 4 months ago

    Is that passenger (i.e. the pilot) flying business class or economy?

    • MacNordic 4 months ago

      Guess you might want to call it “cattle class” if using it to round up cattle…
      😉

  2. Chris Griffiths 4 months ago

    Impressive Stuff, the Return of the BiPlane, the Wright brothers would be Impressed.
    Well done to those involved.

  3. TheTransition 4 months ago

    Can I fly it to work in the city of Melbourne? The 64 KM range is perfect.

  4. palmz 4 months ago

    Might be good for rounding up the cattle or checking the water….. ‘tax deduction’ I wounder how CASA class this.

  5. Joe 4 months ago

    Its.. ‘The Jetsons’

  6. Charlie Williams 4 months ago

    That film is an animation. 12 kWh are equivalent to 1.2 litres of petrol (assuming 100% efficiency!). And they wanna fly 64 kilometres with that? That’s nothing but a hoax.

    • Sebastian M. Büttner 4 months ago

      No, Sir! With a 12 kWh charge you can drive a Renault Zoe 90-100 km. Your assumption only shows how inefficient internal combustion driving is.

      • thecavedweller 4 months ago

        Correct Sebastian! My Nissan LEAF uses just 13-14kWh per 100km. They’re super efficient.

  7. EdBCN 4 months ago

    It seems like everything is from the Bay Area these days. I recognize the landscape in the video from where I grew up there.

  8. Marcelo 4 months ago

    Amazeballs! More information required. I am dubious.

  9. Bruce N Morgan 4 months ago

    It’s a small VTOL but it’s not a “car” that can be driven on roads when not in the air.

  10. Quiet 4 months ago

    Meh, it stil has a few more hurdles to jump yet.

  11. charles frogg 4 months ago

    Where can I buy one ??? another fantastic breakthrough in the world of renewables.What will the insurance cost per year be and will the properties and people you are flying over have to give you written consent to fly over them ????

  12. Radbug 4 months ago

    Given the 45% consumption share America will need to recapitalise its manufacturing industry, Americans will be lucky if they can afford battery-assisted bicycles!

  13. Salty1cdog 4 months ago

    If that thing is 1.5m long I’ll eat my 3m long appendage.

  14. Ian 4 months ago

    Amazing looking thing, the aerofoils are inclined at about 45’ ,judging from the picture, which is unusual for an aircraft. This must be the secret to this vehicle’s manoeuvrability. It acts like a kite when taking off and landing and then points downwards when underway with the back end higher than the front and the aerofoils more horizontal. It’s just the ticket to exploring low speed lift and drag on aircraft. The multiple propellers idea is probably a design que from helicopter drones. This feature perhaps gives the vehicle stability. It looks like another boy’s toy, but who knows, maybe it will become the future of commuting:(

  15. Don Incoll 4 months ago

    Umm . No. I dont see any real pilots in the flight scenes. Im not convinced.

  16. kiwishamoo 4 months ago

    Gonna be hard to drive without any wheels…

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