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Latest in aviation technology featured at EAA AirVenture 2022

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Posted at 8:05 AM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 09:05:35-04

OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — The advancements in technology on display at EAA AirVenture 2022 are out of this world.

When people walk by Opener's tent, they may notice an aircraft that looks like something straight out of The Jetsons.

It's called the Opener BlackFly, categorized as an all electric vertical takeoff personal aerial vehicle.

"One person can hop in and fly this. You don't need a pilot license. It's an ultra light," said Greg Kerr, director of software engineering for Opener.

The aircraft has a joy stick to control altitude and speed, fixed wings and propellers, sensors, three fail-safe flight systems and redundant motors.

"The system takes care of everything," Kerr said. "There are eight motors on there, but you don't have to worry about what those motors are doing. That's what the software does."

Kerr said the the BlackFly can be in the air for about 25 minutes. The software will give a warning when the charge is low.

"This is a really unique flying experience, because when you take off and hover, you're on your back. And then when you pitch forward, you tilt all the way forward. Then you're sitting upright. So that's something that not many aircraft do," Kerr said.

Advanced software is the name of the game for Avilution, another company at AirVenture this year.

"We build avionics that are more like the way your mobile phone works," said Mark Spencer, Avilution founder.

Spencer said the software they create can run on various types of hardware, similar to an app on a phone. For example, a system called The Unpannel is mounted on a repositionable fixture. It has a 17-inch screen that displays critical data, a moving map and obstacle avoidance.

"It's the same screen you'd find in a Tesla Model S, just with different software here to provide your flight management system, all your engine gauges, your position on a moving map. Everything is really big and specifically targeted," Spencer said.

He said Avilution's avionics can be adapted to any plane, including electric aircrafts.

"You can make things that are much more applicable to very specific cases of flying instead of just one-size-fits-all for everybody else," Spencer said.

Avilution also contracts with the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army and NASA.