XTI Aircraft Company (XTI), which is developing the TriFan 600 six-seat tilt-rotor business aircraft, has hired Robert J. LaBelle as its chief executive officer. He joins XTI after three years as CEO of AgustaWestland North America. Before that, he served as president of AgustaWestland Tiltrotor Company, Inc., the company supporting the development of the AW 609 Tiltrotor.
“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.”
LaBelle joined AgustaWestland in 2004 after a career in the U.S. Navy where he was program manager for several aircraft, including the E-2 Hawkeye, C-2 Greyhound aircraft, F/A-18 Foreign Military Sales, and S-3B Viking aircraft.
LaBelle replaces Charlie Johnson, who was XTI’s interim CEO. Johnson will remain on XTI’s board of directors, a position he’s held since 2014.
“We’re grateful to Charlie,” said David Brody, XTI’s founder and Chairman, “for taking over in February 2016 and leading the company after the tragic loss of Jeff Pino. We’re looking forward to Charlie’s continuing contributions and guidance as a board member.”
The TriFan 600 will have the speed, range and comfort of a business jet and the ability to take off and land vertically, like a helicopter. Using three ducted fans, the TriFan 600 lifts off vertically. Its two wing fans rotate forward for a seamless transition to cruise speed, at 35,000 feet and 400 miles an hour, with a range of up to 1,600 miles.