Flying car: Canadians bring flying car one step closer to reality – National

A flying car may permit us to get from level A to B, exploring the skies whereas by no means sitting in site visitors.

This know-how is not the stuff of fantasy. Quite a few firms all over the world are racing to make theirs out there.

Canada’s Marcus Leng leads one among them.

“I believe we’ve all had desires of full three-dimensional freedom,” mentioned Leng, who’s the CEO of Opener, an organization growing a private aerial automobile.

As a younger boy strolling to highschool, he would surprise if there would ever be an plane that you can simply bounce in “and have the ability to take off vertically and fly wherever you wished.”

He began designing and constructing prototypes in his basement within the small group of Warkworth, Ont.

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“I believe our home turned a manufacturing facility,” he remembers.

“The basement was used for mainly doing all of the construction work … and the kitchen was mainly used for manufacturing motors,” he instructed World’s present affairs present, The New Actuality. “We used to bake the motors within the oven. Boy, would that stink.”

It took over a 12 months for him to fly his first proof-of-concept automobile in his entrance yard.

“I discovered myself finally on the finish of our driveway and my associates and neighbours … have been behind a barrier of automobiles that we had arrange,” Leng mentioned.

Marcus Leng flying BlackFly. Picture: Opener.


“And I determine, similar to in snowboarding, I’ll do a skidding flip in entrance of them. All went very properly, besides in the course of the skidding flip, the sting of the wing made contact with the garden … however the propulsion techniques reacted so quick that it mainly created this lengthy divot because it scraped by means of grass with out the plane shedding any management.”

Utilizing eVTOL, which stands for electric-powered vertical takeoff and touchdown, Leng mentioned he was capable of produce a automobile that doesn’t want a runway to get off the bottom.

It’s known as BlackFly. Some folks usually consult with it as a flying automobile. Leng calls it a private aerial automobile designed to suit one particular person.

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Anybody as much as six toes six inches and weighing 200 kilos or much less can use it.

It has a joystick, can fly in -20 Celsius climate, and function in about 32 km/h winds.

“In the USA, which is our main market, we’ve got very severe weight restrictions. So, the American automobiles have a 20-plus mile (32 km) vary for an operator that’s 200 kilos,” Leng mentioned.

“In Canada, we don’t have these weight constraints and likewise we don’t have pace constraints,” mentioned Leng, who in 2014 relocated nearly all of his operations to Palo Alto, Calif.

One of many key options about BlackFly is you don’t want a pilot’s licence to fly it.

In keeping with Leng, a possible proprietor must full a coaching course and be at the very least 18 years previous.

The great factor about our automobile is (that in) each the USA and Canada (it’s) categorised as an ultralight plane,” he mentioned. “In Canada, you require an ultralight licence, which is comparatively straightforward and simple to acquire.”

With the intention to fly it, you want to take a brief coaching course.

I believe essentially the most distinctive factor is that I might be an operator, you might be an operator … in the midst of about two days and some hours of simulation methods to safely fly this plane,” mentioned Kristina Menton, who’s the director of operations, flight testing and propulsion lead at Opener.

“That’s one thing that’s exceptionally novel and actually unimaginable — to have the ability to give that sort of expertise of three-dimensional flight to common folks.”  

Kristina Menton, director of operations at Opener, flying BlackFly.


She mentioned the plane is nearly completely made out of carbon fibre, together with the wings, fuselage and propellers. It’s electrical, and subsequently emissions-free.

“We now have autoland options. So mainly, if you get near the bottom, the plane will take over,” Menton mentioned.

Canadians who assist make BlackFly … fly

Menton has been engaged on BlackFly for years. When she first signed on with the corporate, she had no concept what product she’d be engaged on.

“I first met Marcus on a telephone name the day earlier than my final examination of college. He was trying to rent two mechanical engineers. On the time, the corporate was fully in stealth mode and he wasn’t capable of say what the product was, who the buyers have been, actually any of the technical particulars,” Menton instructed World Information.

“However I may get from the telephone name that it was a reasonably thrilling and revolutionary alternative and determined to take the leap to leap on board.”

She wasn’t the one one who took the leap. Eleanor Li, Menton’s classmate on the College of Toronto in mechanical engineering, did too. She joined Opener and moved to Silicon Valley with out figuring out the venture she was employed to work on.

“Marcus mainly got here alongside and mentioned, ‘Oh, we’re making this large carbon epoxy half. Do you need to be a part of our staff?’ And I simply mentioned, ‘Sure, sure, right here I’m,’” mentioned Li, who’s now the plant supervisor at Opener.

Eleanor Li, plant supervisor at Opener, in a flight simulator on the firm headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.

World Information

For years, Leng had been secretly engaged on his invention whereas recruiting.

It wasn’t till 2018 that he began letting the world get a glimpse of BlackFly.

In July 2021, Li, Menton and Leng flew Blackfly on the Experimental Plane Affiliation AirVenture present in Oshkosh, Wisc. The annual occasion can usher in a whole lot of 1000’s of spectators.

“The flight is unimaginable. You could have a panoramic view of anyplace,” mentioned Li. “I instructed this to some folks at Oshkosh: if you’re within the plane, you’re feeling like you’re the plane and the plane is you.”

The staff is working exhausting to make the plane out there to shoppers quickly.

However first adopters will solely have the ability to fly in rural areas. BlackFly isn’t allowed to go over built-up areas.

Leng is protecting the worth tag to himself, however he believes because the trade advances, BlackFly will turn out to be extra accessible to folks.

“Our goal for subsequent 12 months is to provide 260 automobiles. However the final objective is to be producing tens of 1000’s of those at a worth that will be consistent with an SUV,” he mentioned.

See this and different unique tales about our world on The New Actuality airing Saturday nights on World TV, and on-line. | Flying automobile: Canadians carry flying automobile one step nearer to actuality – Nationwide


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