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

Former NASA Veteran David McBride Takes Charge of Electric Air Taxi Development for Hyundai-Backed Supernal

David McBride, a veteran of NASA, has been appointed as the Chief Technology Officer at Supernal, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group. In this new role, he will oversee the development and certification of the company’s proposed electric air taxi. Based in Washington, DC, Supernal announced on March 25 that McBride will lead technology strategy and aircraft development, managing around 400 employees in the engineering and technology division. He will report to CEO Jaiwon Shin.

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

McBride’s background includes serving as the director of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, where he played a key role in various missions, such as achieving full operational capability of the Boeing 747SP aircraft. He also contributed 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 to work on bringing the aircraft, which the team has been developing for years, 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 the production of their eVTOL. The company aims to complete a first flight with a technology demonstrator by the end of 2024 and assemble a production prototype by 2026.

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