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Another Larry Page-backed startup shows personal VTOL aircraft

by Justin King

BlackFly is claimed to be the first USA-qualified ultralight all-electric fixed-wing personal aircraft with VTOL capability.

Google co-founder Larry Page is apparently working with two startups developing personal VTOL aircraft.

Page's association with Kitty Hawk is already known. His name has now been tied to a second startup, Opener, that recently came out of the shadows to show off its BlackFly personal aerial vehicle.

The BlackFly is a single-seat aircraft with two fixed wings. The entire vehicle tilts to reposition its eight electrically-powered rotors from VTOL/hover mode to forward flight.

To qualify for the FAA's Part 103 (ultralight) regulations, the BlackFly integrates an 8-kWh battery to keep the weight under the 254-pound limit. Pilots can expect to cruise for up to 25 miles at speeds of up to 62 mph, just shy of the FAA's 63-mph limit.

An international version jumps to a 12-kWh battery that brings the overall vehicle weight up to 313 pounds. Range consequently stretches to 40 miles, while top cruising speed reaches 80 mph.

While in stealth mode, the Canadian startup has already logged 1,400 flights and flown 12,000 miles.

"Opener is re-energizing the art of flight with a safe and affordable flying vehicle that can free its operators from the everyday restrictions of ground transportation," says CEO Marcus Leng. "We will offer competitive pricing in an endeavor to democratize three-dimensional personal transportation."