Raburn: Aviation Industry ‘Eats Its Young’

 - November 13, 2008, 11:54 AM

Eclipse Aviation founder and former CEO Vern Raburn stole the show at a VLJ forum held Tuesday and yesterday in West Palm Beach, Fla., with his day-one closing comments, in which he spoke candidly about the aviation industry and Eclipse Aviation. “This is an industry that eats its young,” he said. “It’s fraught with people whose comment to anything new is, ‘It can’t be done. It hasn’t been done, so it shouldn’t be done.’” He said it’s “phenomenally sad” that the industry has lost its spirit of entrepreneurship and willingness to take risks. He also accused the FAA of being “100 percent political” and blamed unions for the Eclipse congressional hearings. “We are in for a tough haul with the FAA,” he said. “We’re going into the dark ages.” Raburn also admitted that he did not leave Eclipse voluntarily. “I got fired. The reason I got fired was simple: I pissed off the investors,” he said, adding that he has “zero association” with the company today. “That is partially their choice, partially my choice,” he said. “I’m not good at being number two.” Raburn also took a shot at anonymous bloggers, calling them “idiots and cowards,” a reference to comments made by Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin about anonymous sources. “They do it through anonymity,” he said. “They’re cockroaches trying to hide under rocks.”