Benjamin L. Diachun

Benjamin L. Diachun

Chief Technology Officer, Supernal
BS ME 1999

For his forward-thinking approach to the aviation industry by exploring innovative technologies, leading to the development of 16 groundbreaking aerospace vehicles.

Two years into his undergraduate degree at Purdue, Ben Diachun wasn’t convinced that engineering was the best path for him. Between his sophomore and junior years, he took a year off to consider his options. While driving a delivery truck on a country road one day, he had an epiphany. “I realized that there is no ‘right’ career choice for me. I needed to find something that could build and grow with me as I got older. I returned to Purdue the next year with a newfound purpose and sense of ease, then never looked back.”

Fast forward to 2023, and it’s clear that Diachun has grown by leaps and bounds. In his 16 years at Scaled Composites, LLC, where Diachun worked in every level of the business — including president — he developed 15 unique aerospace vehicle types, sold more than $1 billion in vehicle hardware and services, and grew annual revenue from $25 million to more than $135 million. From there, Diachun took the next step in his dream of creating the future of air travel. He joined Opener as CEO, an electric personal air vehicle startup in the Silicon Valley. Within 2 years, Hyundai Motor Group recruited Diachun from Opener to serve as the chief technology officer of Supernal, an part of Hyundai that is developing new air vehicle product lines, including electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Diachun oversees all research and development, engineering, test, evaluation and certification activities, leads a rapidly growing team of 230 engineers and scientists, and manages a multi-billion financial commitment.

A true aviation enthusiast for decades, Diachun first soloed an airplane at the age of 16 and went on to become a commercial pilot with instrument, multi-engine, and seaplane ratings. He was named to Aviation Week’s 40 Under Forty in 2014 and was a member of the team awarded the National Aeronautic Association’s Robert J. Collier Trophy for the development of SpaceShipOne, the first commercial manned spaceship. He also was instrumental in evolving BlackFly, an all-electric personal air vehicle; Globalflyer, the non-stop, non-refueled, around-the-world aircraft; and Stratolaunch, the world’s largest composite airplane, among others.

In 2019, Diachun was honored with an Outstanding Mechanical Engineer Award at Purdue, and he has served on the Purdue School of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Industrial Advisory Council since 2016. In addition to advising two start-up companies, he is a board member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, where he participates in youth STEM and aviation workforce development programs.

Diachun credits Purdue for teaching him the framework and engineering principles to organize complex sets of information and solve hard problems. Reflecting on his professional achievements, he offers the following assessment: “Later in life, you will put more value on the relationships you build in the course of your career, than the things you build over the course of your career.”

Career Highlights

2021-present Chief Technology Officer, Supernal
2019-2020 Chief Executive Officer, Opener
2015-2019 President, Scaled Composites 
2003-2019 Engineer, Scaled Composites


1999 BS Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University