MantaRay is a Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) vehicle that is made from foam board, hot glue, and packing tape. Despite the low tech materials the airplane is very advanced: It has flight speeds in excess of 50mph and the ability to land like a helicopter. MantaRay is created by Open Aeris, one of the latest companies to come out of Nova Labs, a Makerspace in Reston, Virginia.
MantaRay and Open Aeris were created by Fred Briggs as a result of another project he was working on at Nova Labs called RhinoHawk. The team developed a low cost drone to help stop Rhino poaching in South Africa. In order to raise money for the project Fred Briggs developed a simple radio controlled airplane which could be built in classes. The class revenue helped fund the team’s anti-poaching development efforts. The classes were a big hit and were Fred’s inspiration for starting Open Aeris. The company is focused on using inexpensive materials and turning them into high performance open source Drone kits that can be used in a classroom environment.
The MantaRay debuted at the 2015 New York Maker Faire where it won an Editor’s Choice award. It will be exhibited again in Open Aeris’ home turf on March 13, 2016 at the NoVa Mini Maker Faire, sponsored by Nova Labs.