Marcus Leng Receives EAA 2019 August Raspet Award for Aircraft Design and Technology Innovation

Creator of BlackFly Recognized for World’s 1st Fixed-Wing, All-Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL), Personal Ultralight Aircraft

OSHKOSH, Wis., July 26, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --  EAA AirVenture - OPENER today announced its Founder and CEO, Marcus Leng, has been awarded the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) 2019 August Raspet Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the advancement of light aircraft design. Leng innovated modern battery and motor technologies to produce BlackFly, the world’s first fixed-wing, all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) personal ultralight aircraft.

“Marcus Leng has pioneered a new era in manned flight with the development of BlackFly,” said Charlie Becker, EAA Lifetime #515808, Director of Chapters, Communities & Homebuilt Community Manager. “His unique approach has created an all-electric VTOL ultralight aircraft that has truly advanced light aircraft design.”

“I am honored to receive the EAA August Raspet Award for my work on developing an affordable eVTOL aircraft,” said Marcus Leng, Founder and CEO of OPENER. “I began this endeavour to build vehicles that I would like to fly. It has been an unbelievable journey, but would not have been possible without the incredibly dedicated and talented Opener team.”

Leng joins many other aviation luminaries including Burt Rutan, Dick VanGrunsven and Curtiss Pitts in receiving this award.

About the August Raspet Award
Since 1960, the Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award has been presented every year to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of light aircraft design.

The award is named for the late Dr. August "Gus" Raspet, a professor at Mississippi State University and avid light aircraft enthusiast. Raspet was instrumental in elevating the aeronautical engineering program at Mississippi A&M College, as it was originally known, into one of the nation's preeminent aerophysics research centers. The Raspet Flight Research Laboratory in Starkville, Miss. - a tribute to all of his efforts - was completed in 1962.

The first recipient of the award was John Thorp, Lockheed engineer on the Little Dipper and Big Dipper, and designer of the Thorp Aviation Sky Skooter. Since then the list of people honored reads like a Who's Who of aircraft design.

About EAA
EAA embodies The Spirit of Aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA’s 220,000 members and 900 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building, and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to For continual news updates, connect with

About BlackFly
BlackFly can easily takeoff and land on small areas and travel distances up to 35 miles (25 miles restricted in USA), at speeds of up to 75 mph (62 mph restricted in USA).  These Personal Aerial Vehicles (PAV) are simple to master and require no formal licensing or special skills to operate safely in the USA. OPENER has flown BlackFly over 23,000 miles and completed more than 2,300 test flights. Safety is OPENER’s #1 priority, and without it, no general adoption of new eVTOL technology is possible.

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

Media Contact:
Heidi Groshelle, Groshelle Communications

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Marcus Leng Receives EAA 2019 August Raspet Award