From Giant Skies to Boutique Horizons: A Journey of Expertise in Aeronautical Engineering

Portia Leigh
4 min readNov 28, 2023


Aeronautical engineer Clément Bovero has shifted gears, leaving the world of large multinational aerospace corporations behind in search of more innovative and entrepreneurial projects.

After joining industry giant Airbus in 2015, Clément rapidly worked his way up the ranks to managing his own safety and manufacturing inspection teams. Clément has since branched out, bringing his excellence and expertise to the world of boutique aircraft manufacturing through joining the California-based French start-up Centauri.

For an aviation aficionado and driven aeronautical engineer such as Clément, starting his thriving career at Airbus, which designs and manufactures commercial aircraft for airlines around the world, was the opportunity of a lifetime. It was the proving ground for his mastery of the fundamentals in aircraft production and manufacturing, quality control, and safety standards and reporting.

“My time with Airbus was a real progression in my engineering know-how that has served me well. Working for over six years at the same company let me delve deeply into all things quality and manufacturing related,” said Clément. “I worked doing small quality investigations first, before working in advanced production quality issues, which gave me a first hand appreciation for ensuring that things are done properly during the manufacturing process in order to prevent larger issues.”

At Airbus, he was tasked with overseeing their A350 and A320 aircrafts as a quality and manufacturing engineer and quality conformance manager. In an industry where precision is paramount, he spearheaded initiatives to enhance manufacturing processes and ensure that each aircraft leaving the Airbus facilities met their stringent quality standards. This included updating their essential quality control measures, leading inspector technician teams, authoring safety policies and quality review procedures, and resolving engineering safety issues to keep the 300 plus aircraft in the Airbus fleet in service.

“My work was to resolve safety issues that occurred on inservice aircraft, particularly focusing on structural defects. My key projects focused around finding and reporting solutions to the EASA (equivalent of the American FAA in Europe) to secure next in production aircraft, and retrofit all the A350 fleet,” Clément explained. “The issues I was in charge of resolving were all safety critical, meaning they lead to flight delays or cancellations, and in worst cases grounded aircrafts.”

Centauri Aeronautical Engineer Clément Bovero

An indelible impact

At Centauri, Clément has seized the opportunity to forge his own path.

Leaving Airbus to join a boutique airline company has allowed Clément to take charge and expand his horizons. He is involved in all aspects of the company in a way that isn’t possible at larger multinational corporations, which he finds thrilling. He is working on exciting new aircrafts and using new and innovative production technologies and materials.

Even with having only joined the company in 2022, Clément’s indelible impact at Centauri can be felt across all aspects of the company. He has become indispensable to its growth and strong company culture.

Centauri’s mission is to transform the private aircraft experience with a new category of planes that are design-centric, stunningly sleek, modern, as well as super fast, safe and easy to fly. They are best known for their Valkyrie aircraft, which is inspired by classic fighter jets with clean lines and premium finishes.

“We are working on ramping up production of the Valkyrie. After a lengthy development program, it is finally reaching a state of reliability that makes it mature for Early Adopter, qualified buyers,” said David Loury, the CEO of Centauri Aircraft, during a recent interview. “The ramp up has involved many aspects, beginning with hiring and training new people, on manufacturing real-life flying parts to exacting aerospace standards.”

Clément has been instrumental in the roll-out of the Valkyrie aircraft line. His experience at Airbus has helped him develop an unparalleled expertise in composite aircraft production specializing in aircraft manufacturing quality and safety that has proven essential to the production, assembly, inspection of the Valkyrie.

The job of manufacturing airplanes is demanding, exacting, and under productive pressures with little margin for error. In an environment where adaptation is constantly needed, where glitches of all sorts can happen, having a versatile aeronautical engineer like Clément on board can make all the difference.

“The Valkyrie impresses with understated elegance, and Clément’s influence is a large part of why that’s possible,” said Loury. “Bringing Clément onto the team, with his up-to-date manufacturing ability, leadership skills, and keen understanding of safety protocols and industry standards, exactly timed with the needs of Centauri.”

When comparing his roles at the two companies, Clément noted that working at a boutique firm like Centauri in a start-up environment is a dynamic and fulfilling experience. At Airbus, his focus was on quality topics that required a lot of office work and aircraft inspections for investigations linked to structural issues. At Centauri, he is more engaged with all aspects of the aircrafts design and production, providing hands-on direction to his teams.

When asked about what he has enjoyed most about shifting gears, leaving behind the world of multinational commercial aircraft production and joining a boutique aircraft manufacturer, Clément said that it was nurturing the team he hand selected that has made him most proud.

“As the supervisor of a production team that I myself hired, working with these people, supporting their growth and producing a great product together means everything. Each aircraft we finish, I look around at my teammates and I’m proud of the work we did together.”



Portia Leigh

Portia is a journalist & poet from Los Angeles. You can find her work through №3 Magazine,,, and more.