Former NASA Chief Takes the Reins at Supernal as EVTOL Developers Pitch Their Concept in Las Vegas

David McBride appointed as Supernal’s new chief technology officer to spearhead advancements in air taxi development

On March 25, Hyundai Motor Group subsidiary Supernal announced the appointment of NASA veteran David McBride as chief technology officer. McBride will be responsible for leading the development and certification of Supernal’s proposed electric air taxi. He will oversee 400 employees in the engineering and technology division and report to CEO Jaiwon Shin.

Prior to joining Supernal, McBride was the director of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, where he achieved full operational capability of the Boeing 747SP aircraft and led record-breaking missions such as the flight of the solar-powered Helios aircraft. He also played a crucial role in the development of NASA’s X-57 Maxwell, an all-electric aircraft. McBride expressed his excitement about joining Supernal and helping to bring its eVTOL vehicle to market by 2028.

Supernal recently unveiled its SA-2 air taxi concept at CES in Las Vegas, marking a new phase in its development. The SA-2 is a four-passenger aircraft with a V-tail that operates with a distributed electric propulsion system and features eight tiltrotors. It has a cruising speed of 104kt and is designed for flights ranging between 25 to 40 km. The company plans to leverage Hyundai’s manufacturing capabilities to scale production of the eVTOL and draw on its expertise in designing smart cars. By the end of 2024, Supernal aims to conduct a first flight with a technology demonstrator, with a production prototype assembled by 2026.

Sophia Reynolds

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