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

David McBride, a veteran of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, has been named the chief technology officer at Hyundai Motor Group subsidiary Supernal. He will oversee the development and certification of the company’s proposed electric air taxi, which is set to hit the market by 2028.

Prior to joining Supernal, McBride was responsible for achieving full operational capability of the Boeing 747SP aircraft at NASA and led record-breaking missions such as the flight of the solar-powered Helios aircraft. He also played a key role in developing NASA’s X-57 Maxwell, an all-electric aircraft.

“I am excited to join Supernal and be part of this innovative company that is working to revolutionize urban transportation,” said McBride. “I look forward to helping bring their eVTOL vehicle to market by 2028.”

Supernal announced McBride’s appointment on March 25, stating that it represents a new phase of development following the unveiling of its SA-2 air taxi concept at CES in Las Vegas. The four-passenger aircraft features a V-tail design, distributed electric propulsion system with eight tiltrotors, and can reach cruising speeds up to 104kt. It is designed for flights ranging between 25 km to 40 km.

To scale production of eVTOLs, Supernal plans to leverage Hyundai’s manufacturing capabilities and draw on its 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 Samantha Jones

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