Hyundai’s Supernal Appoints NASA Vet David McBride as Chief Technology Officer for Electric Air Taxi Development

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

Supernal, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group, has appointed NASA veteran David McBride as its chief technology officer. He will oversee the development and certification of the company’s proposed electric air taxi, which is expected to hit the market by 2028. McBride will report to CEO Jaiwon Shin and manage around 400 employees in the engineering and technology division, based in Washington, DC.

The move comes as Supernal enters 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.

McBride has an extensive background in aerospace engineering and flight research. He served as 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.

“I am excited about joining Supernal and working on bringing this incredible piece of technology to market,” said McBride. “The SA-2 air taxi is designed to accommodate four passengers and will feature a V-tail and distributed electric propulsion system with eight tiltrotors.” It will cruise at 104kt and be optimized for flights between 40km and 64km. The company plans to leverage Hyundai’s manufacturing capabilities in scaling production of their eVTOL vehicle.”

Supernal aims to complete a first flight with a technology demonstrator by the end of 2024 and assemble a production prototype by 2026. The SA-2 air taxi represents an exciting opportunity for both Supernal and Hyundai Motor Group, as they work towards developing scalable eVTOL vehicles that can revolutionize urban transportation systems around the world.

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