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, which is expected to hit the market by 2028. He will oversee a team of 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 key role in developing NASA’s X-57 Maxwell, an all-electric aircraft. McBride is excited about his new role at Supernal and looks forward to helping bring its eVTOL vehicle to market.

Supernal’s SA-2 air taxi is a four-passenger aircraft with a V-tail that will operate with a distributed electric propulsion system featuring eight tiltrotors. The aircraft has a cruising speed of 104kt and is designed for flights ranging between 25 to 40 km. To scale production of this eVTOL, Hyundai plans to leverage its manufacturing capabilities 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 and have a production prototype assembled by 2026.

By Samantha Johnson

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