Aus­tralian green avi­a­tion com­pa­ny AMSL Aero has appoint­ed avi­a­tion leader and mil­i­tary vet­er­an Chris Small­horn as inau­gur­al chair­per­son to sup­port its exec­u­tive team, led by co-founders Andrew Moore and Siob­han Lyn­don.

He is a retired Navy Com­modore and for­mer Com­man­der of the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, for­mer CEO and VP of Coul­son Avi­a­tion Aus­tralia, an adjunct asso­ciate pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Sydney’s Busi­ness School, cur­rent Vice Chair­man of the Board of Safeskies Aus­tralia, and advi­sor to AMSL Aero since ear­ly 2022.

A qual­i­fied exper­i­men­tal test pilot and aero­space engi­neer, Small­horn was attract­ed to AMSL Aero by its investor base, which includes IP Group Aus­tralia, Tel­stra Super Host­plus, and the St Bak­er Ener­gy Inno­va­tion Fund.

AMSL’s Ver­ti­ia long range zero emis­sions eVTOL is due for com­mer­cial launch in 2026 and can car­ry four pas­sen­gers and a pilot at a cruis­ing speed of 300kph.

He said: “I knew I want­ed to be part of this endeav­our as I walked into the AMSL Aero hangar in Bankstown. I saw a group of tru­ly bril­liant young engi­neers from diverse back­grounds, all edu­cat­ed and trained in Aus­tralia, doing inno­v­a­tive work to cre­ate the first Aus­tralian-designed cer­ti­fied air­craft in many years.

“Sit­ting in the hangar was the advanced pro­to­type of Ver­ti­ia, which imme­di­ate­ly impressed me with its effi­cient aero­dy­nam­ic design, safe­ty and redun­dan­cy-based con­fig­u­ra­tion, and prac­ti­cal hybrid pow­er plant design.

“Andrew Moore is a bril­liant engi­neer with deep avi­a­tion expe­ri­ence and Siob­han Lyn­don a lawyer and for­mer exec­u­tive from Google. They are the foun­da­tion of an impres­sive team that tru­ly cares about hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant mea­sur­able pos­i­tive envi­ron­men­tal effect on future gen­er­a­tions.

“In cre­at­ing a zero-emis­sions air­craft that can trav­el 1,000 kilo­me­tres, fur­ther than any oth­er eVTOL design, AMSL Aero is lead­ing a rev­o­lu­tion that will dis­rupt the glob­al avi­a­tion indus­try, and it’s hap­pen­ing right here in Aus­tralia.”

AMSL Aero CEO and Ver­ti­ia inven­tor Andrew Moore added: “Chris has a unique back­ground that is well suit­ed to steer­ing the future of AMSL Aero in this key stage of growth and devel­op­ment.”

AMSL Aero COO Siob­han Lyn­don con­clud­ed: “We are delight­ed to have Chris Small­horn join our board of direc­tors and be appoint­ed chair­per­son. As a high­ly accom­plished leader, aero­space engi­neer, test pilot, with expe­ri­ence span­ning both the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tors, Chris brings to the table a wealth of knowl­edge and coun­sel that is high­ly valu­able to the long-term sus­tain­abil­i­ty of AMSL Aero.”

In Feb­ru­ary 2023, AMSL Aero com­plet­ed the maid­en test flight of its Ver­ti­ia eVTOL air­craft that takes off and lands like a heli­copter, but flies like a plane.