NASA Veteran David McBride Joins Supernal as Chief Technology Officer for Scalable eVTOL Development

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

Supernal, a subsidiary of the Hyundai Motor Group, has appointed NASA veteran David McBride as its chief technology officer. Based in Washington, DC, Supernal made the announcement on March 25 that McBride would oversee technology strategy and aircraft development. He will manage around 400 employees in the engineering and technology division and report to CEO Jaiwon Shin.

According to Shin, the company is entering a new phase of development following the successful 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 by 2028.

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 and contributing 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 SA-2 air taxi, which has been under development for years, to market. The SA-2 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 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.

Leave a Reply