Blackfly is a rather unusual-looking aircraft from Opener. To be fair, this makes sense. After all, Blackfly isn’t exactly what people would consider to be a conventional aircraft, so it stands to reason that it possesses some significant differences from the images that come to mind for most interested individuals when they think of said term. For example, its bottom resembles nothing so much as a boat hull. Meanwhile, it has not one but two wings, with one situated in the front and the other situated in the rear. Having said that, it isn’t the look of Blackfly that makes it so interesting. Instead, that would be its capabilities.
It Is a VTOL Aircraft
When most people think of aircraft, they think of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft that uses what is called either CTOL or HTOL. The first stands for conventional take-off and landing, while the second stands for horizontal take-off and landing. These names are pretty simple and straightforward. After all, conventional fixed-wing aircraft take off by accelerating on a runway until they have reached the necessary speed. Similarly, they will land on a runway while they are still at flight speed. Both parts of the process have issues, which is why there has been considerable interest in VTOL aircraft for quite some time.
Chances are good that interested individuals can guess what VTOL stands for. After all, if there is a counterpart called horizontal take-off and landing, it makes sense that there is a classification called vertical take-off and landing. In any case, the idea of a VTOL aircraft is not a new thing. For example, ancient China had a toy called a bamboo-copter, which could fly up when its shaft was spun. Similarly, Leonardo da Vinci came up with an aerial screw. He was never able to make a full-sized versions, but his notes indicate that he was able to make a number of fully-functional toy-sized models. Having said that, the first helicopters weren’t built until the early 20th century before becoming suitable for mass production at around the time of World War II. Since then, other kinds of VTOL aircraft have been brought forth into existence from the realm of pure imagination.
This is interesting because they possess advantages and disadvantages when compared with their conventional, fixed-wing counterparts that make them better-suited for certain circumstances. In particular, VTOL aircraft can take off and land without the same kind of infrastructure, thus making them much easier to deploy. Unfortunately, they have serious efficiency issues. Moreover, VTOL aircraft have more moving parts, which in turn, mean more potential for problems to show up. Fortunately, a lot of resources have been poured into this field, with the result that modern examples are much more reliable than their predecessors from just a few decades ago. Blackfly is a VTOL aircraft. It isn’t either a tiltwing or a tiltrotor. Instead, Blackfly changes pitch. Simply put, it can take off in a vertical manner by pitching up. Furthermore, it can fly horizontally in an efficient manner by pitching down.
It Is an eVTOL Aircraft
Speaking of which, it is important to note that Blackfly is an eVTOL aircraft. This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, which is to say, a VTOL aircraft that uses electric power. Such aircraft would’ve been impossible just a short while ago. After all, VTOL aircraft already have serious efficiency issues. Something that would have been made worse by what was at best immature technologies. However, the huge resources poured into electric power have paid off because there are now electric motors and electric batteries that can power VTOL aircraft for practical use. Moreover, these technologies aren’t just restricted to a small number of major players. Instead, they have become very widespread, as shown by how Opener itself isn’t exactly what most people would consider to be a sizable company.
Having said that, it isn’t hard to see why there is so much interest in eVTOL aircraft. To some extent, this is driven by the rising interest in electric vehicles, which in turn, is driven by the ever-widening acknowledgement that some serious changes have to be made to our energy generation methods. However, it is also interesting to note that a lot of people are seeing potential in new markets in which such aircraft could prove to be useful. One example would be air taxis, which are a market that already exist but show some promise for becoming bigger as aircraft become even more accessible. Another example would be short-distance transportation in urban landscapes for not just goods but also people. Conventional, fixed-wing aircraft would be impractical under such circumstances, so it isn’t hard to see why eVTOL aircraft would be getting the bulk of interest in this regard.
One of the most interesting things about Blackfly is how accessible it happens to be. An exact price hasn’t been set because the company apparently doesn’t want to make promises that it cannot keep. Something that can have very harsh effects for hype. However, Opener has stated that Blackfly will have the approximate cost of an SUV, which is within the price range of a sizable percentage of households. Granted, they aren’t exactly equivalent purchases. Blackfly is essentially an expensive toy that cannot be operated either at night or anywhere near populated areas. As a result, it is nowhere near as useful as a SUV, which can do a great deal more to meet interested individuals’ basic transportation needs. Still, its price makes it clear just how far the relevant technologies have come. Simply put, many things can be made. However, many of those things are either too expensive or otherwise too impractical for sale to the general population. The fact that there is now an eVOTL aircraft available for sale at the price of a SUV to interested individuals is something remarkable. This is particularly true because it seems like a promising sign of even more accessible flight in the years to come.