Here we present the members who comprise Team Cormorant.

People are listed in ascending order by surname with a short narrative describing their competences, contributions, and interests.

Fred Bouter

Cormorant Advisory Group - Advisor

Serendipity brought Fred and Cormorant together through pure coincidence. As he summarizes, “It’s fun to work with Cormorant’s people and slowly build on the team that is going to be required to support its aspirations.”

We have welcomed Fred as an Advisor to the Cormorant Advisory Group, where he provides a valued contribution through his network built up over many years in the general aviation sector.

With a varied career in nautical and aeronautical roles, Fred:

  • Acted for 5 years as a merchant navy officer onboard general cargo vessels and ocean-going tugboats.
  • As a Royal Dutch Navy Reserve Officer, he formed part of flight crews as navigator / observer / tactical coordinator on Lockheed Neptune and Grumman Tracker aircraft operating from shore- and carrier bases. Operations comprised both military activities and search & rescue missions.
  • As a trainee Air Traffic Controller with EUROCONTROL, he completed theoretical ATC training.
  • As a materials coordinator with a major oil company, he spent 4 years coordinating the materials and equipment despatched to the Arabian peninsula.
  • At Fokker Aircraft a role of Maritime Specialist was initially filled. Lack of sales of the Fokker F27 resulted in his transition to Executive Staff Officer Flight Crew Training and Operations Support. Promotion followed to Head of Flight Crew training and Operations Support a.i.
  • A short period at Fokker’s airworthiness department followed with further training in aircraft accident investigation. This was interrupted by having to prepare and execute ground training of flight crews for a military customer.
  • Fokker Aircraft’s demise saw a period of uncertainty, with part-time work undertaken for an engineering firm bringing contacts in the nuclear industry and for rigid airships.
  • Permanent employment followed with Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL) as Manager - Information & Documentation until retirement.

Retirement has proven to be anything but retiring, with Fred:

  • Committing to part-time care of a relative suffering illness.
  • Capitalising on contacts made at LVNL, starting up a general aviation operators’ conference that has developed into the Netherlands General Aviation Symposia.
  • Continuing his love of the sea, including sailing trans-Atlantic west to east, from Miami, Florida via the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the Azores, to Faro, Portugal.

Frank Kaiser

Head of Certification

As an aerospace engineer since the start of his working life in the late 1980s, Frank gained his knowledge and experience with renowned aerospace companies Fokker Aircraft, Collins Aerospace and Thales Avionics. He is now working as a consultant for ADSE Consulting and Engineering.

Over the years he has performed several roles in: avionics design; certification; engineering management; process development; and, organisational development and change. In the recent past he supported several aerospace start-ups, with a focus on rotorcraft and eVTOL. He supported organisation development, aerospace process development and training of the new generation of aerospace engineers.

Frank is an EASA Form 4 holder and has for more than 10 years supported the EASA-approved ADSE Design Organisation (DOA) as Head of Design. He supports several other DOAs as Compliance Verification Engineer for avionics and electrics. Frank continues to be interested in new developments and novel technologies.

He is intrigued by Cormorant’s technical and flight operational concepts, in particular its potential for providing a sustainable transport solution to a wide variety of markets and users. Integration and certifiability of the new electric and / or hybrid propulsion technologies is one of the top priorities for his support to Cormorant, a topic that has a high level of interest in the broader aerospace community. Frank has learned that strong and open cooperation with the authorities and industry standard fora is key to progression of these new technologies. His ambition is to contribute to making Cormorant a versatile, adaptable, EASA CS-23 certified aircraft that is cost effective, attractive and a desired market proposition.

Chris Rijff

Head of Design

Chris is a hands-on entrepreneur with over 20 years' experience in various companies. His interest is in developing, commercializable, usable products that are elegant, practical design solutions to problems unaddressed by current products in the marketplace. Engaged in a number of projects over the years, his current involvements are in Speelbelovend CV (carpentry, toy manufacturing and wholesale), Rail Pleasure Holding BV (first railbike company in the Netherlands), and Cormorant SEAplanes BV.

From making his first toy seaplane at the tender age of 6, aviation has been a passion all his life. Practical experience gained in the aviation environment has subsequently proven invaluable, for example:

  • By late 1998 Chris had become involved with Euro-ENAER in Den Helder in the Netherlands, a manufacturing start-up far a small trainer aircraft, The Eaglet. There he worked in testing, design and production support. He was also a manufacturer of production molds.
  • Chris was also an active participant in the building of molds and the interior design process for the SIMONA simulator, based at the Delft University of Technology (TUDelft).

As the originator of Cormorant, Chris follows a holistic approach in both conceptual design and aircraft analysis. With its original mission statement still valid, initially conceived to address design deficits in the general aviation amphibious aircraft sector, Cormorant has developed as a robust, adaptable, general aviation solution that capitalizes on developments in electric aviation to offer a solution that is substantially independent of the charging network and requires minimal infrastructure for its operation (with capability to operate from unpaved runways and water). It is thus not just a sustainable solution per se, its environmental operating requirements are less. Chris sees Cormorant as capable of also serving communities based in remoter locations, a segment of the population seemingly often overlooked in the development of e-aviation solutions.

Currently Chris is hands-on with the construction of the Cormorant prototype for ground / water trials and aerodynamic analyses. When time permits, he is happy to meet with interested parties to discuss the project.

Mark Sowery

Head of Corporate Development

After tertiary education, receiving a first-class honors degree in Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh and an MBA from (Alliance) Manchester Business School, Mark worked for several blue-chip companies, including BP Oil International, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Price Waterhouse. He then bought-in to an aircraft component manufacturer in the early 1990s since when, he:

  • Grew that aircraft component manufacturer from a workforce of 12 to 40+, having developed and implemented a successful exit strategy, including a new product range, for disposal to a plc (public limited company).
  • At the same time commenced own business consultancy focused on entrepreneurial, growth-minded SMEs.
  • Has over 30 years’ experience in providing embedded strategic management, enhanced & effective decision-making, and organizational goal-setting solutions for SMEs in several industry sectors in the EU and UK, principally aviation. He has independently developed methodologies to deliver increased agility, efficiency, and success to enterprises. Strong risk management protocols, financial controls, and access to appropriate funding sources are central to these deliverables.
  • Has also served both as an executive and non-executive director, he has assisted in organizations’ successful delivery of change, growth, and their definition & achievement of corporate goals.

Mark has known Chris Rijff for over 20 years, during which time he has become increasingly involved with the Cormorant project from a corporate development perspective.

Mark spends his time between the UK and, increasingly, the Netherlands where he anticipates devoting more of his time as Cormorant develops.

Outside formal work, he continues to support several now graduated students of the Manchester MBA course whom he mentored whilst they underwent its 2-year program; he finds their different cultural perspectives, enthusiasm and drive invigorating - whether they be in Europe or further afield in, for example, Argentina, India, or China.

When leisure time is available, Mark enjoys playing squash and skiing (both considerably more slowly than when younger), together with travelling, and reading across a broad range of interests.

Koos van der Vegte

Cormorant Advisory Group - Pilot

Koos commenced his piloting career at the age of 19, when he earned his military aviator’s wings with the Royal Netherlands Navy. Shortly after, he was selected for training and became qualified to operate from the Dutch Colossus Class aircraft carrier, HNLMS Karel Doorman.

Following this period as a naval aviator and flight instructor, Koos transferred into civil aviation as an Airline Transport Pilot. Over the following fifty-five years Koos was involved in flying all types of aircraft in both operational and technical projects; he has over 34,000 flight hours’ experience on a wide range of large and small civilian and military aircraft.

The various types of flying Koos has been involved with include:

  • Copilot for a major Dutch airline
  • Flight Operations Inspector and Calibration Flight Test Pilot (Dutch Civil Aviation Authority)
  • Flight instructor at the Dutch Government Flying School (RLS)
  • Fokker Aircraft BV
    • Production Test Pilot / Demonstration Pilot
    • Flight Instructor / Flight-crew Manager
    • Development and implementation of a Fokker 70 comprehensive flight training program for an East African military operator.
    • After Fokker’s demise in the 1990s, Koos retained connections with its customer base, conducting flight simulator sessions, Crew Resource Management workshops jointly for cockpit and cabin crews, as well as command upgrade training
  • Kenya Air Force - private pilot for the President & Line Training Captain
  • Cirrus Sales & Service Netherlands (importing SR-22 model), together with test flights at its factory in Duluth, Minnesota
  • Captain of the official aircraft used by senior members of the Dutch government.
  • Euro-ENAER Holding BV / Technical University Delft, Experimental Test Pilot (1997 - 2010)
  • L-39 Albatros – establishment and introduction of Aggressor Squadron for NATO countries / Air Defense - Navy & Airforce
  • As a Training Captain, Koos has flown
    • Worldwide with over 20 major airlines at locations including those based in The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Austria, Nigeria, Germany, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Brazil, Belgium and for many Private Companies; and,
    • In non-civil projects in The Netherlands, Singapore, Kenya, and Peru.

Though no longer actively, professionally flying, Koos maintains his passion for aviation through participation in specific projects.

Cormorant has provided the platform for Koos to re-establish previous encounters:

  • With Chris Rijff - worked together, not knowing each other personally, at the same time on the Euro-ENAER "Eaglet" project in Den Helder; Koos also performed the maiden test flight of the Eaglet in Chile, the home country of this 'plane.
  • During his naval career period, Fred Bouter was Koos' navigator of choice. It was Fred who reintroduced Koos to Chris at the Cormorant project.

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