Supernal has announced the appointment of former NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center Director David McBride as its Chief Technology Officer (CTO). McBride will lead Supernal’s technology strategy and vehicle development, reporting to its CEO, Jaiwon Shin, who is also President of Hyundai Motor Group, leading its Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Division.

“Following the debut of our product concept earlier this year, Supernal has entered a new phase of our Advanced Air Mobility business – where we turn our innovative vehicle concepts into commercially sound and safe all-electric aircraft,” said Jaiwon Shin. “David has spent his career making the ‘impossible possible’ in aviation, leading numerous successful missions at NASA, and we are eager for him to help lead Supernal in bringing our scalable eVTOL vehicle to market in 2028.”

At NASA, McBride served as the Director of the Armstrong Flight Research Center. During his tenure, he led the Center in achieving full operational capability of the Boeing 747SP aircraft, which carried a telescope into the stratosphere, allowing astronomers to observe the infrared universe above 99 percent of Earth’s infrared-blocking atmosphere. He also led the development of NASA’s all-electric aircraft and safely conducted global operations for NASA’s Earth Science missions. As Program Manager for NASA’s Flight Research Program, McBride was integral to expanding aerospace knowledge and capabilities, including the record-breaking flight of the solar-powered Helios aircraft to an altitude of more than 96,000 feet.

“I am honoured to join Supernal to help certify and commercialise an aircraft that our team has been working toward for the past several years,” said McBride. “It is an exciting time as we transition from the engineering design phase to the build and execution phases. We have an impressive ‘production-minded’ team, and we look forward to taking our first flight later this year.”

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