Chairman, President & CEO
David Groen, cofounder with his brother Jay of Groen Brothers Aviation (“GBA”) in 1986, served as its President & CEO for the past twenty years, becoming Chairman following Jay’s death in 2006. Mr. Groen is a highly experienced military and commercial helicopter pilot with over 7,000 hours in rotor-wing and fixed-wing aircraft. A graduate of the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Flight Training School, he served in Vietnam as a combat helicopter pilot and Aircraft Commander, flying hundreds of combat sorties. David’s Vietnam experience also enabled him to show a broader side to his skills, as co-author along with his brother Jay, of a best-selling novel entitled “Huey”.
Subsequently, in industry, his commercial helicopter missions included Emergency Medical Services, power line patrol and construction, topographical survey and map making, USGS map making, wildlife management, tour guide, heli-skiing, forest fire fighting, seismic oil exploration, and on-shore and off-shore wildcat oil drilling operations, both in the USA and overseas. In addition to his flight responsibilities, he has held numerous helicopter industry executive positions with Sales, Safety Officer, Branch Manager, and Chief Pilot responsibilities.
David’s extensive helicopter experience gave him a fundamental understanding of the capabilities of rotorcraft, but also an awareness of the intrinsic limitations of the helicopter platform. This insight led David and Jay to found GBA with the goal of re-discovering and developing the science of sustained autorotative flight: gyroplanes and gyrodynes. By 2001 they had grown GBA’s staff to over 130 people; flown the world’s first turbine-powered gyroplane, the GBA Hawk 4; and were proceeding toward FAA commercial certification of that aircraft. The same year, however, the impact of the severe economic down turn of the “Tech Sector” crash, and subsequently 9/11, to insure the Company’s survival necessitated that management reassess its strategy. In order to conserve the Company, David ended the certification program, reducing the work force substantially, but retaining the resources necessary to continue to move the Company’s science forward.
David’s continuing emphasis on exploiting the potential of sustained autorotative flight technology gained quick recognition. As early as 2002, the Aerospace Industries Association Executive Report stated that, “What the Wright Brothers did for the airplane 100 years ago, the Groen Brothers are doing for the gyroplane today.” In 2005 the Company was awarded a very significant contract from the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a preliminary design for a demonstrator gyrodyne rotorcraft, named “Heliplane” by DARPA, designed to serve in a Combat Search & Rescue (CSAR) role. In Phase I of this project GBA developed the necessary technology to allow the Heliplane to achieve vertical takeoff and landing at high elevations, a top speed in excess of 400 mph, and impressive payload and range. This technology has a broad range of important military and commercial applications that the Company intends to exploit.
David has served two one-year terms as a Member of the Board of Governors of the AIA. In April, 2011 he gave a principal keynote address to the Chinese International General Aviation Summit in Shanghai that formally met to review the important opening in China of low-altitude airspace for commercial and private flight. His presentation, “An Airplane That Doesn’t Need A Runway,” which is what a gyroplane is, has generated a great deal of interest in a land that has few airports compared to its need.
In a December 14, 2012 News Release, GBA Inc. announced recapitalization and transfer of substantially all its assets - notably all of its tecnologies, know-how, and associated patents - into its newly-formed privately-held subsidiary GBA Global which was formed specifically for this transaction. Consequently, David now also serves as President & CEO of GBA Global, Inc.
Robin H.H. Wilson,
Executive Vice President and
Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Wilson brings to his role as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, the leadership and management wisdom gained during 40 years of executive management experience in the transportation industry.
Among his leadership positions, Mr. Wilson served for 17 years at Trans World Airlines (TWA) ending his first period with TWA as Senior Vice President, Operations, responsible for managing an annual budget of $2 billion; Subsequently, as the President of the Long Island Railroad, his positive impact on the operation of that railroad and on the economy of Long Island, earned him an induction into the New York Hall of Fame. Succeeding positions included: President, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Western Airlines, Inc.; President, CEO and Director of Burlington Air Express; and Chief Technical Officer of Guinness Peak Aviation (GPA), then the world's largest aircraft leasing company.
Following TWA entering Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 1992, he was asked to return to the airline to serve as Co-chief Executive. After TWA's emergence from Chapter 11, he was appointed Vice Chairman with responsibility for the principal operating functions of the airline, resigning that position after the appointment of a new CEO. Before joining GBA he was a Partner and Director of SH&E, the international aviation consultants.
A native of Dublin, Ireland, Mr. Wilson received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Mechanical Sciences from Cambridge University in 1958 and later a Master of Business Administration degree with honors from Harvard University. He also was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from Adelphi University, New York.
Mr. Wilson, with his respected reputation within the world-wide aviation/aerospace industry and long list of contacts established over his meritorious career, has worked with the late Jay Groen, as Jay initiated important contacts in governmental and aerospace industry sectors, and in broadening that impact on international scale. Thus Mr. Wilson will continue to represent GBA with established connections and cultivate new contacts in the Company's efforts to further the success of autorotative flight.
In a December 14, 2012 News Release, GBA Inc. announced recapitalization and transfer of substantially all its assets - notably all of its tecnologies, know-how, and associated patents - into its newly-formed privately-held subsidiary GBA Global which was formed specifically for this transaction. Consequently, Mr. Wilson now also serves as Treasurer and Secretary of GBA Global, Inc.