Brian Garrett-Glaser
By Brian Garrett-Glaser

As the managing editor of, Brian covers the ecosystem emerging around eVTOLs and urban air mobility. Follow him on twitter @bgarrettglaser.


AirMap, Iris Automation and Urban Aeronautics announce new chief executive officers

Three companies involved in urban air mobility and unmanned traffic management announced new CEOs in early October. Each faces stiff competition as it seeks to become or maintain status as a dominant player in its respective industry.

Iris Automation detect-and-avoid
Iris Automation, developer of onboard detect-and-avoid systems for small aircraft, and two other companies announced new chief executive officers. Iris Automation image

Iris Automation, a provider of onboard detect-and-avoid solutions, appointed Jon Damush to lead the company as it continues to develop avionics to enable beyond visual line of sight and unmanned operations at scale.

“As we grow into our next phase, I am eager to collaborate with our customers, partners, global regulators and investors to bring these capabilities to everyday use and make flying safer,” said Damush, who was formerly director of new business ventures for Boeing NeXT, the company’s innovation unit that was shuttered recently.

Co-founder and previous CEO Alexander Harmsen will become chairman of the board for Iris.

Simon Crowther took over leadership of UAS services provider AirMap on Oct. 5, after the company’s board lost confidence in former CEO David Hose. Previously a venture partner at Yamaha Motor Ventures and CEO of Nearmap, Crowther faces the challenge of achieving growth in a crowded industry still struggling to scale and limited by the pace of regulatory activity.

“After a thorough selection process, we decided that Simon Crowther was the right leader for AirMap’s next phase of growth,” said AirMap chairman and co-founder Ben Marcus. “His expertise in leading multidisciplinary teams in high-growth industries will ensure AirMap’s continued success as we work to enable safe drone flight at scale.”

Rafi Yoeli, founder and long-time CEO of Tel Aviv, Israel-based Urban Aeronautics, will hand the reins over to Nimrod Golan-Yanay, formerly vice president of business development, as the company seeks to develop and bring to market its unique internal rotor approach to vertical flight.

“After serving for more than 20 years as CEO of Urban Aeronautics, I look forward to focusing my energy on supporting strategic development of the company and its technology,” said Yoeli.

Urban Aeronautics CityHawk
Tel Aviv, Israel-based Urban Aeronautics is pursuing a radically different approach to vertical flight using internal rotor technology, pictured here. Urban Aeronautics image

Urban Aeronautics has about 50 employees total supporting development of its manned and unmanned — CityHawk and Cormorant, respectively — aircraft, Golan-Yanay told

“The company is scheduled to launch Round B fundraising in the near future,” Golan-Yanay said in an email regarding the company’s progress. “This will be in addition to its previous round totaling $35 million. Further funds required for the completion of the commercialization process are planned to come from strategic industry partners and financial institutions.

“We are working together with our partners at Cert-Center Canada to ensure our design is certifiable to FAA, Transport Canada, and EASA standards,” he added.

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