Eviation co-founder and CEO Omer Bar-Yohay is leaving the company just as it prepares for the long-awaited first flight of its Alice electric aircraft. The U.S.-based firm today announced that as part of a “leadership reorganization” Gregory Davis will replace Bar-Yohay immediately.
In a social media posting on February 14, Bar-Yohay said he is stepping down from the position, "after a long-standing disagreement with the company's main shareholder." Eviation insisted that his departure was, "part of a planned succession process that reflects the company's transition to the production phase," of the program.
The unexpected move comes a little over a month after Eviation’s chairman, Roei Ganzarski, stepped down from the role, and also from that of CEO of MagniX, which is supplying the electric propulsion system for the fixed-wing, nine-passenger Alice. Ganzarski is now CEO of information technology group Alitheon.
Davis has held executive positions with aviation companies including Viking Air and Marshall Aerospace. He joined Washington state-based Eviation in May 2021 as the start-up’s president. Since August 2019, the company has been owned by Singapore-based investment group Clermont, which also owns MagniX. These are the group's first investments in aviation, and it also has interests in healthcare services in Vietnam and financial services.
“Eviation expects to make the first flight of the Alice in the upcoming weeks, having completed many preliminary milestones, including initial taxi and flight test preparations,” said Eviation’s new chairman, Dominique Spragg. “As we complete the technical demonstration phase, Eviation is now preparing for production to make affordable regional air travel a reality in the coming years.”
Last year, Eviation’s engineering team completed an extensive redesign of the Alice, with a T-tail configuration replacing a distinctive V-shaped tail. Alice’s two MagniX Magni650 electric propulsion units have been relocated from the wingtips to a pylon mount at the rear of the fuselage.
In late January, Bar-Yohay told FutureFlight that changes had been made to simplify the certification process and to respond to customer feedback and a desire to be able to make banked approaches to runways. At the time, Alice’s first flight, which had been expected to occur before the end of 2021, seemed likely to happen imminently. The company has been conducting high-speed taxi tests in recent weeks.