Just as maiden flight nears, Eviation Aircraft CEO steps down

The Arlington electric airplane maker says the change in leadership won’t affect upcoming flight plans.

ARLINGTON — The co-founder and CEO of Eviation Aircraft, an electric airplane builder with engineering facilities in Arlington, said he is leaving the company.

“Today, I’m stepping down from my position as CEO after a long-standing disagreement with the company’s main shareholder,” Omer Bar-Yohay said in a tweet. “Thank you @EviationAero, partners and investors, for the patience and dedication to take this journey. Leading you was a tremendous privilege.”

Bar-Yohay co-founded Eviation in 2015. The Israeli-based company aims to create a battery-powered commuter aircraft with an all-electric propulsion system.

Bar-Yohay did not respond to Twitter requests for details about his decision.

Eviation has made good on a promise to design and build a fully-electric nine-set airplane known as Alice. The plane produces no carbon emissions. It’s expected to take a maiden flight this year, the company said.

In a statement issued Monday, Eviation said Gregory Davis will replace Bar-Yohay as interim CEO, a move that is “part of a planned succession process that reflects the company’s transition to the production phase of the all-electric Alice aircraft.”

“Davis brings extensive aerospace and international business development experience from companies including Viking Air Limited and Marshall Aerospace,” the company said. “As president of Eviation prior to this new role, he is fully versed in the company’s strategy and operations.”

The change in leadership will not affect the airplane’s inaugural flight, the company said.

“Eviation expects to make the first flight of Alice in the upcoming weeks, having completed many preliminary milestones including initial taxi and flight test preparations,” said Dominique Spragg, chairman of Eviation. “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.”

“We wish to express our appreciation to Omer for his contributions as a co-founder and executive of Eviation,” Spragg added.

At a Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference last week in Lynnwood, Bar-Yohay told participants that the fully electric, nine-seat plane is expected to have a top cruising speed of 287 mph and a target range of 500 miles.

The plane is powered by two electric motors, designed and built by magniX, an Everett-based company. The two aerospace firms moved to Snohomish County last year and have teamed up to design the new plane.

Monday’s announcement is the second Eviation-related departure this year.

In January, Roei Ganzarski, who served as chairman of the board of directors at Eviation and CEO of magniX, stepped down after a four-year stint.

Magnix named Chief Operating Officer Michele D’Ercole as interim chief executive, filling the vacancy.

Eviation occupies three hangars at Arlington Municipal Airport. magniX is housed in a 40,000-square-foot building in south Everett, near Paine Field. Both companies are subsidiaries of the Clermont Group, a private investment firm based in Singapore.

Eviation currently employs 120 people but expects to see those numbers jump if it obtains federal regulators’ approval for Alice to enter service.

In August, DHL Express, the global package delivery firm, ordered 12 of the planes, which will be configured to carry cargo and have a payload capacity of 2,600 pounds.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.