Former AgustaWestland North America executive Robert J. LaBelle has joined XTI Aircraft Co. as its CEO, XTI told R&WI.
LaBelle replaces Charlie Johnson, who served as XTI's interim CEO after the February 2016 death of Jeff Pino, who had been serving as XTI's vice chairman. Johnson will remain on the company's board of directors.
LaBelle spent three years at AgustaWestland, now Leonardo, as its CEO. Before that, he served as president of AgustaWestland Tiltrotor Co. supporting the development of the AW609.
As a U.S. Navy sailor, LaBelle was program manager for several aircraft, including the Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye, Grumman C-2 Greyhound, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet and Lockheed S-3B Viking. He joined AgustaWestland in 2004.
“I view this position with XTI as a unique opportunity,” LaBelle said, “to help bring to the commercial market and business jet market a revolutionary new aircraft that people have been seeking and dreaming about for over 100 years.”
XTI is raising capital to build its first prototype of the TriFan 600. The company says the six-seat TriFan 600 will have the ability to take off and land vertically, with the speed, range and comfort of a business jet.