Hyundai Motor Group Appoints NASA Veteran as Chief Technology Officer for Scalable eVTOL Vehicle Startup

David McBride named Chief Technology Officer of Supernal, to spearhead development of air taxi services

David McBride, a NASA veteran with a wealth of experience in aerospace and aircraft development, has been appointed as the chief technology officer at Supernal, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group. Based in Washington, DC, Supernal announced the appointment on March 25th. McBride will oversee technology strategy and aircraft development, managing around 400 employees in the engineering and technology division. He will report directly to CEO Jaiwon Shin.

Supernal is excited about entering a new phase of development following the successful debut of its conceptual SA-2 air taxi at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Shin expressed his excitement about McBride joining the team and his ability to help bring Supernal’s scalable eVTOL vehicle to market by 2028.

McBride brings a wealth of experience to his new role, having served as the director of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center for many years. During this time, he played a key role in various missions such as achieving full operational capability of the Boeing 747SP aircraft and contributing to advancing aerospace knowledge through projects like the solar-powered Helios aircraft and the X-57 Maxwell all-electric aircraft.

McBride expressed his enthusiasm for joining Supernal and working on bringing their eVTOL vehicle to market. The SA-2 air taxi is designed to accommodate four passengers and will feature a V-tail and a distributed electric propulsion system with eight tiltrotors. It will cruise at 104kt and be optimized for flights between 40km and 64km.

Supernal plans to leverage Hyundai’s manufacturing capabilities in scaling up production of their eVTOL vehicle. The company aims to complete its first flight with a technology demonstrator by the end of 2024 and assemble its production prototype by 2026.

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