Innovation: Air Transport to General Aviation

Added on 03 February 2010 by Royal Aeronautical Society

Innovation has always been the life blood of aviation and space development. From the most entrepreneurial of beginnings to massive corporations the contributions to advancing aerospace that have come from innovations can not be understated. Yet as the industry has matured innovation has become increasingly difficult to achieve.

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Today innovation is coming from new and unexpected sources. General Aviation, traditionally the receipt of large transport aircraft innovation, is now innovating on its own. Empowered partially by Moore’s Law but more by an entrepreneurial fire that refuses to be banked, GA is leading the way in many areas of growth. In the meantime large sectors of aerospace are seeing innovation suppressed due to high levels of risk aversion. Are there ways for both segments to benefit from each other’s unique ability to innovate? And how can we as an industry share in the benefits and joy of innovation?

This talk explores the issue of innovation from both a historic and current events standpoint as it pertains to aviation and space.

2008 Wilbur and Orville Wright Lecture

Recorded: Thursday 11 December 2008

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About the speaker:

Vern Raburn

Founder of Eclipse Aviation, USA

With more than 30 years experience as a senior executive in both the information technology and aviation industries, Vern Raburn is a successful entrepreneur who has also helped to shape the courses of both the information technology revolution and the aviation industry.

In 1976, Mr Raburn opened one of the nation’s first computer stores. Shortly thereafter he joined Bill Gates as one of the first employees at Microsoft. He served at Microsoft as President of the Consumer Products Division. Following his tenure at Microsoft, he served as Executive VP and General Manager of Louts Development Corporation, where he played a key role in the successful launch of Lotus 1-2-3. He moved on to start Symantec Corporation where he served as President and Chairman.

In 1998 Mr Raburn moved to the aviation industry and founded Eclipse Aviation. Utilising many of the lessons from the information industry he led Eclipse Aviation to achieve numerous advancements in its quest to change the way people travel.

The company raised over a billion dollars in capital, received Type Certification for the Eclipse 500, received Production Certification, opened a training centre with Level D simulators and a chain of service centres. By mid 2008 the company had delivered over 250 aircraft.

Mr Raburn’s passion for high technology is exceeded only by his love of aviation. Since he first learned how to fly as a teenager, he has accumulated more than 7,000 hours of flight time and has earned his multi-engine, instrument, commercial and rotary ratings. He also holds type ratings in more then 16 aircraft ranging from WW2 bombers to piston airliners to modern corporate jets.

Vern Raburn serves on the Board of Directors of the EAA, ICON Aircraft and the Albuquerque Economic Development Corporation. In addition he is a trustee of the Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA.

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