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NASA Veteran David McBride Takes Leading Role in Supernal’s EVTOL Development

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

NASA Veteran David McBride Takes Leading Role in Supernal’s EVTOL Development

David McBride, a NASA veteran with extensive experience in aerospace technology, has been appointed as the Chief Technology Officer of Supernal, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group. In his new role, he will be responsible for leading the development and certification of Supernal’s proposed electric air taxi.

Supernal, based in Washington DC, made the announcement on March 25. McBride will oversee technology strategy and aircraft development, managing around 400 employees in the engineering and technology division. He will report to CEO Jaiwon Shin.

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

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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