Military veteran Chris Smallhorn joins AMSL Aero to support team developing zero emissions aircraft

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Chris Smallhorn with the Vertiia aircraft. Image supplied.

Australian green aviation company AMSL Aero announced that it has appointed renowned aviation leader and military veteran Chris Smallhorn as its inaugural chairperson.

Smallhorn will advise and support AMSL Aero’s experienced executive team, led by co-founders Andrew Moore and Siobhan Lyndon, as it prepares to commercialise Vertiia, the world’s most efficient long-range zero emissions electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft, in 2026.

He is also a trained experimental test pilot and aerospace engineer in addition to being a retired navy Commodore, Commander of the Fleet Air Arm, and former CEO of Coulsen Aviation Australia.

“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,” Smallhorn stated. 

He added, “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. This is a world beater.” 

According to AMSL Aero CEO and Vertiia creator Andrew Moore, Smallhorn’s expertise will be important as the business transitions Vertiia from an experimental stage to a fully built eVTOL.

“He is a highly astute leader and adviser and will provide significate strategic value and counsel to the company in this next phase of growth,” Moore noted.  

Siobhan Lyndon, AMSL Aero’s co-founder and chief operating officer, believes Smallhorn is critical to the company’s and Vertiia’s future. 

“We are delighted to have Chris Smallhorn join our Board of Directors and be appointed Chairperson,” she said. 

Lyndon further detailed, “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.”   

AMSL Aero completed the inaugural test flight of Vertiia in February 2023, the first by an Australian-designed and constructed eVTOL, the new generation of aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter but flies like a plane. 

Vertiia emits no carbon dioxide and can travel at a cruise speed of 300kph with four passengers and a pilot. 

AMSL Aero recently expanded its collaboration with CareFlight to enhance and test Vertiia’s aeromedical fit-out.