About Us

Heralding a new dimension of travel, Opener is an aerospace company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, that is realizing the dream of a safe, easy-to-operate flying vehicle capable of efficiently transporting an individual from point A to B. Opener designed, developed, and manufactures BlackFly, the world’s first all-electric, fixed-wing, vertical take-off and landing aircraft for personal transportation. Founded as SkyKar in 2008, Opener conducted the first human flight of a fixed-wing all-electric VTOL aircraft on October 5, 2011. Find videos and more information at https://opener.aero .

Timeline

  • July 2022

    4 human-operated cruise flights in front of 100,000's of people at EAA AirVenture 2022

    Hover Flight Thumbnail

  • July 2021

    4 human-operated hover flights in front of 100,000's of people at EAA AirVenture 2021

    Hover Flight Thumbnail

  • June 2021

    Sequential ballistic parachute demonstrations

    Ballistic Parachute Thumbnail

  • May 2021

    400 billion flight data points collected and analyzed

    Data Points Thumbnail

  • October 2020

    Wing assembly in full production

    Wing assembly

  • July 2020

    Historic BlackFly donated to Hiller Aviation Museum

    Hiller Museum Thumbnail

  • November 2019

    BlackFly v3 passes extensive cold-weather testing

    BlackFly Snow Testing Thumbnail

  • October 2019

    30,000 miles flown

  • July 2019

    Historic BlackFly donated to EAA Aviation Museum

    Marcus Leng awarded the EAA August Raspet Award

    Opener BlackFly EAA Museum Thumbnail

  • September 2018

    20,000 miles flown

  • March 2018

    First human-operated flight of BlackFly v2

  • October 2017

    First pre-production model flown, BlackFly v3

    Opener BlackFly v3 Thumbnail

  • September 2017

    10,000 miles flown with 200-lb payload (minimum 30 mile flights)

  • November 2016

    First 30 mile flight with 200-lb payload

  • February 2016

    BlackFly v2 takes flight

    Opener BlackFly v2 Thumbnail

  • February 2015

    First 2-minute hover with 200-lb payload

  • September 2014

    Relocation to Palo Alto, California

  • August 2014

    BlackFly v1 first flight

    Opener BlackFly v1 Thumbnail

  • October 5, 2011

    Marcus Leng makes first flight in a proof-of-concept vehicle in his front yard in Warkworth, Ontario, Canada.

  • August 2009

    Marcus Leng develops concept for vehicle.

Executive Team

  • Ken Karklin

    Ken Karklin

    CEO

    Ken brings decades of leadership experience to his role as Opener’s CEO. From engineering, operations, quality, and program management, Ken spent over a decade as a senior leader at AeroVironment, Inc, a global leader in Unmanned Aircraft and Robotic Systems. While there, Ken was VP and GM of the Efficient Energy Systems segment, SVP of Operations, and most recently, Chief Operating Officer. Earlier in his career, Ken served in engineering leadership positions at startup Touchdown Technologies, Agilent Technologies, Hewlett Packard Company, and Intel Corporation.

    Ken earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is a graduate of Hewlett Packard and Agilent's year-long leadership development program, and earned an executive certificate from MIT Sloan School of Management. He holds eight US patents for technology innovations.

  • Dan Weinblatt

    Dan Weinblatt

    CFO

    Dan joined Opener in 2021 and brings with him a wealth of finance and administrative management experience from several privately-held and public companies. Prior to joining Opener, Dan held senior management positions as CFO, VP Finance, and Corporate Controller.

    Dan also holds a CPA from New York and is a member of the California Bar. He received his BS in Accounting from the State University of New York, Binghamton and a JD from Santa Clara University’s School of Law.

Technical Advisors

  • Alan Eustace

    Alan Eustace

    Director

    Alan has worked for Digital, Compaq, and HP's Western Research Laboratory. Alan was appointed head of the laboratory in 1999 after 12 years of working on pocket computing, chip multi-processors, power and energy management, and internet performance (among others).

    In 2002, Alan joined Google, then a four-year-old startup. At Google, he worked as Senior Vice President of Engineering and as Senior Vice President of Knowledge until 2015.

    Since October 24, 2014, Alan holds the world record for the highest-altitude free-fall jump from 135,889 feet.

  • Ed Lu

    Ed Lu

    Advisor

    Raised in Webster, New York, Ed earned a degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University and later a doctoral degree in applied physics from Stanford University in 1989. Ed was selected for the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1994.

    Ed flew on two Space Shuttle flights, one Soyuz flight, and served a 6 month mission aboard the International Space Station. Since retiring from NASA, Ed has worked at Google as Program Manager for Advanced Projects, and at Liquid Robotics.

    Ed is currently the Executive Director of the B612 Foundation Asteroid Institute, and is a co-founder of LeoLabs. He is also a member of the SpaceX Safety Advisory Panel for crewed flights.

  • Ken Sasine

    Ken Sasine

    Advisor

    Ken is an accomplished flight test pilot with over 35 years of flight test experience in both Military and Civil aviation. His experience includes serving as Chief Test Pilot for a classified military test program, and Chief Test Pilot for light business jet OEMs. Ken is a graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School and former instructor at USAF and National Test Pilot Schools. He is currently consulting on both Civil and Military test programs as a project Test Pilot.

    Ken has experience in over 100 different aircraft types, and is type-rated in numerous military, commercial aircraft, and helicopters. He has over 16,000 flight hours with a perfect safety record.

    Ken is currently President of Precision Wings, LLC.

Founder

  • Marcus Leng

    Marcus Leng

    Founder

    Opener founder Marcus Leng's personal interest in aeronautics began at an early age. He obtained a recreational pilot's license at the age of 18 and never stopped thinking about flight. After completing his education at the University of Toronto in 1983 with a Mechanical Engineering Degree, Marcus worked in multiple management roles with multinational corporations until venturing out on his own in 1986 to build a successful manufacturing company.

    After selling his manufacturing firm and retiring, Marcus pursued his love of aeronautics. He dug into researching aircraft design and ultimately realized that converging technologies had the potential to revolutionize air travel. This epiphany inspired him. Everything from batteries, electric motors, and controllers, to carbon fiber technology, had reached a point where it was possible to produce all-electric, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) personal ultralight aircraft. Leng innovated motor, motor controller, and carbon fiber technologies and was awarded the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) 2019 August Raspet Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the advancement of light-aircraft design.

Investors

Opener is well-funded and will not be seeking additional investors for the foreseeable future.