Former Eclipse Aviation CEO Raburn Lands at UAV Firm

 - October 17, 2013, 3:10 PM

UAV start-up Titan Aerospace of Moriarty, N.M., yesterday named former Eclipse Aviation CEO Vern Raburn as its chairman and CEO. Originally a Microsoft executive, Raburn founded Eclipse, manufacturer of the Eclipse 500 very light jet, in 1998. He stepped down from the company in 2008 before it entered bankruptcy, and it later re-emerged from bankruptcy as Eclipse Aerospace.

Titan is a privately held venture supported by “staged equity financing from experienced venture capitalists, aviation investors and successful entrepreneurs.” The company’s youthful principals made a splash at the Unmanned Systems 2013 conference in Washington, D.C., in August by unveiling the planned “Solara” family of solar-powered “atmospheric satellites.”

The unmanned aircraft will operate at 65,000 feet to provide high-resolution imagery of the earth, voice and data communications relay, weather monitoring and other possible applications. The principals expected to obtain FAA experimental certification of a scaled-down Solara within three months. “By delivering the value of a space satellite at a staggeringly low cost, Titan is poised to re-imagine and expand the satellite industry,” Raburn said. “I look forward to growing this important market.”