OPENER Press Release:
OPENER Names Ben Diachun as Chief Executive Officer
Expanding Operations, Bringing BlackFly to Market
Palo Alto, CA, Jan. 14, 2020 — OPENER, a pioneer of aerial vehicles for consumer travel, is pleased to announce the appointment of Ben Diachun as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). OPENER is producing BlackFly, the world’s first fixed-wing, all-electric vertical take-off 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 Marcus Leng, OPENER Founder and Chairman. “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 takeoff and land in small areas and travel distances of up to 40 miles at a speed of 80+ mph (US restricted performance: 25 miles/62 mph). The vehicles are simple to master and require no formal licensing (US only).
“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.”
Since joining OPENER as company president in May, 2019, Ben Diachun has deployed his unparalleled engineering experience to improve manufacturing processes, enhance efficiency to meet future demands, and grow the company’s team. 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.
On October 5, 2011, history quietly was made near the small town of Warkworth, Ontario, Canada. That day saw the first manned flight of a fixed-wing all-electric VTOL aircraft. This event prompted the formation of a stealth company with the sole purpose of pursuing the development of this new unique technology. In September of 2014, the Company reorganized as OPENER and relocated the majority of its operations to Silicon Valley in California to pursue an unencumbered and accelerated development timeline. Find videos and more information at https://opener.aero.
Heidi Groshelle, Groshelle Communications
Biography: Ben Diachun, OPENER President and CEO
Ben Diachun, President and CEO, comes to OPENER from Scaled Composites in Mojave, California. Ben joined Scaled in 2003, serving as a Design Engineer, Project Engineer, Flight Test Engineer, Chase Pilot, Business Development Manager, and Vice President of Engineering, prior to becoming President. During his 16 years at Scaled, Ben held key technical and leadership roles, developing multiple new experimental aircraft types from concept to first flight. The revolutionary new aircraft include the non-stop, non-refueled, around-the-world GlobalFlyer; the first commercial manned spaceship, SpaceShipOne, and its follow-on, SpaceShipTwo; the optionally-piloted/UAV Firebird demonstrator; the high-performance experimental jet, Swift; as well as the Model 401 advanced-research aircraft.
Ben holds a Master of Science Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. He also holds a Certificate in Technical Management from the University of California, Los Angeles and Financial Management from the University of Virginia. He is a Commercial Pilot with Instrument, Multi-Engine, and Seaplane Ratings.
Ben was part of the team that was awarded the Robert J. Collier Trophy in 2004 for the development of SpaceShipOne. In 2014, he was named in Aviation Week’s “40 Under Forty”. Since 2016, Ben has served on the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics Industrial Advisory Council at Purdue University. Diachun joined the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Board of Directors in 2018 and received the Outstanding Mechanical Engineer Award at Purdue University in 2019.
Check out the VFS video interviews with Marcus Lang and Ben Daichun from EAA AirVenture (Oshkosh): https://youtu.be/nrwfbAEe0Uw