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Eric Samson joins Vertical Aerospace as head of engineering

Eric Samson, previously VP of engineering and head of design organization for the business aviation services company Jet Aviation, has joined the UK-based eVTOL developer Vertical Aerospace as head of engineering.

There, he will work closely with chief engineer Tim Williams and chief technology officer Mike Gascoyne to prepare the way for Vertical Aerospace’s design organization approval, and to develop the technologies and capabilities necessary for the company’s future eVTOL aircraft.

Vertical Aerospace head of engineering Eric Samson
Vertical Aerospace head of engineering Eric Samson

Samson has nearly three decades of experience in the aviation industry. At Gulfstream Aerospace, he held various roles from structural design engineer to project engineering manager, and participated in five major programs, including the G550, G450, G650, G500 and G600. He led the airframe design and stress team that carried out the development, first flight and certification of the Gulfstream G650, and delivered high-end aircraft interiors and advanced cabin systems supplemental type certificates for heads of states and other VVIP customers.

More recently, at Jet Aviation, he was responsible for reorganizing the engineering structure, implementing a growing range of engineering services and increasing the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) scope of approval.

“Eric brings invaluable expertise as an existing EASA design organization approval holder with over 29 years’ aerospace experience in leading cross-functional teams in the design, development, test and certification of high-performance aircraft,” stated Vertical Aerospace CEO Michael Cervenka. “He brings a tremendous pedigree in successfully leading and transforming innovative, large and diverse aircraft engineering functions.”

Vertical Aerospace Seraph eVTOL
Vertical Aerospace has already flown two full-scale eVTOL prototypes with UK Civil Aviation Authority approval, including this one, the Seraph. Vertical Aerospace Photo

“I am honored to join Vertical Aerospace and to have the opportunity to be part of the next chapter of aviation history,” Samson stated. “While the challenges are significantly different than those on well-known traditional aircraft, I am looking forward to building an innovative engineering and design organization that will challenge the status quo and certify the safest and most reliable urban air mobility experience.”

The appointment comes less than a month after it was announced that Boeing’s Dean Moore was joining the company as lead flight test engineer, reinforcing Vertical Aerospace’s commitment to bringing on the expertise necessary to certify its next, winged eVTOL aircraft, which will be revealed “soon.” The company is targeting entry into service for the five-seat commercial air taxi in 2024.

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