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Opener Names EAA Board Member Ben Diachun CEO
January 16, 2020 - Opener, a pioneer of aerial vehicles for consumer travel, and the presenting sponsor of the Innovation Showcase at AirVenture Oshkosh 2020, has announced the appointment of Ben Diachun, EAA Lifetime 424842, as its new chief executive officer. Opener is producing BlackFly, the world’s first fixed-wing, all-electric vertical takeoff 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 Leng. “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 take off and land in small areas and travel distances of up to 40 miles at a speed of 80-plus mph (U.S. restricted performance: 25 miles/62 mph). The vehicles are simple to master and require no pilot certificate when operated under Part 103 in the U.S.
“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.”
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 Composites.