Vertical Aerospace has appointed Michael Cervenka to the role of COO, accelerating progress towards its vision of personal, on-demand and carbon free air travel. Cervenka, formerly Head of Future Technologies at Rolls-Royce, will be responsible for operations and development at the Bristol-based startup, leading a team of more than 40 engineers and technical experts and reporting into Founder and CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick.
Founded in 2016, Vertical Aerospace is among the first companies in the world to build and fly a full scale fully electric vertical take off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Since its inception, the company has recruited technical talent from the likes of Airbus, Boeing, Martin JetPack and GE with the aim of revolutionising how people fly. It is currently building on the success of its demonstrator aircraft to develop more advanced eVTOL models with extended range, payload, passenger capacity as well as certification for commercial flight.
Cervenka brings two decades of aerospace engineering expertise to the role of COO, having held a number of leadership positions at Rolls-Royce, including as Chief Functional Engineer, Chief Performance Engineer and Chief Development Engineer for company’s Trent 900 and Trent 1000 engines which power the world’s largest and most advanced civil aircraft.
Most recently, as Head of Future Technologies, he led the global multidisciplinary team responsible for identifying, developing and applying disruptive technologies across the Rolls-Royce businesses. Working into the Global Chief Technology Officer, the group’s objective was to apply breakthrough concepts and technologies including AI, computer vision systems, IoT, AR and VR, robotics and high performance computing to enhance the Rolls-Royce’s Civil Aerospace, Defence and Power Systems businesses.
Cervenka also led the team which created company’s eVTOL concept and worked in partnership with Aston Martin on its Volante Vision eVTOL concept, both of which were unveiled at Farnborough last year.
Founder and CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick said: “We are drawing closer to the age of carbon free flight, and to get there we need to have a world-class team of dedicated engineers. We are delighted to welcome Michael to the team, joining as COO he brings a unique combination of heritage and excellence in engineering. This experience will be key in shaping our strategy to making certified eVTOL aircraft a reality.”
Newly-appointed COO Michael Cervenka, added: “The aerospace industry is on the cusp of the greatest transformation since the dawn of the jet age in the 1950s. For me, joining Vertical Aerospace presents a unique opportunity to help build a company at the forefront of that transformation. Having seen a number of aerospace startups over the years, I’m thrilled to be joining a company with such potential, driven by a talented team who combine the pace and agility of Formula 1 with the rigour and safety standards that are paramount in aviation.”
Vertical Aerospace is working closely with aviation authorities around the world, and plans to offer intercity air taxi services by 2023. Its aim is to disrupt the trillion dollar commercial aviation market, electrifying short-haul air travel and making it more efficient, convenient and carbon free.