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

David McBride, a NASA veteran with a wealth of experience in aircraft development and engineering, has been appointed as the Chief Technology Officer at Hyundai Motor Group subsidiary Supernal. In this role, he will lead the development and certification of the company’s proposed electric air taxi, the SA-2. McBride will oversee 400 employees in the engineering and technology division and report directly 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 was also involved in the development of NASA’s X-57 Maxwell, an all-electric aircraft. McBride expressed his excitement about joining Supernal and helping to bring the company’s eVTOL vehicle to market by 2028.

The SA-2 air taxi is a four-passenger aircraft with a V-tail that will operate with a distributed electric propulsion system and feature eight tiltrotors. The aircraft has a cruising speed of 104kt and is designed for flights ranging between 25 to 40 km. Supernal plans to leverage Hyundai’s manufacturing capabilities to scale production of the eVTOL and draw on the company’s expertise in designing smart cars. The company aims to conduct a first flight with a technology demonstrator by the end of 2024 and have a production prototype assembled by 2026.

By Aiden Johnson

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