Vern Raburn was on a mission to drag business aviation into the future; and the Eclipse 500, a FL-41, six-seat business jet, was to do it. And in the process, Raburn created a whole new market of VLJ’s, “Very Light Jets.” During his career in technology, he advanced some of the most successful computer companies in the world.
He was one of Bill Gates’ first executives at Microsoft, where he was also executive vice president. He ran Symantec as the CEO and Chair to oversee high technology investments as president of the Paul Allen Group, formed by the Microsoft co-founder.
Raburn logged 6,000 hours of flight time and earned his multi-engine, instrument, commercial and rotary ratings. He is type rated in more than 15 aircraft types from WWII bombers to corporate jets and owns several vintage aircraft.
But he believes the future is in business jets. He founded Eclipse Aviation with the idea that point-to-point, on demand air travel should be affordable to a higher percentage of the population, especially busy executives.
To update his biography, Raburn’s dream of manufacturing the Eclipse on a wide scale was unsuccessful. However, there are Eclipse aircraft still flying; and the pilots who have them, love the airplane. As to Raburn’s future, he continues to use his technology and aircraft skills and currently works with Google’s new aviation company, Titan Aerospace.