Jay Groen, chairman of Groen Brothers Aviation (GBA), died Oct. 9 at his home in Washington D.C., after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 62.
Jay co-founded GBA in 1986 with his brother, David, to develop modern autorotative aircraft.
“Jay’s passing leaves a void within us all, but at the same time furthers our resolve to succeed in this endeavor to celebrate his dedication, devotion and persistence,” said David Groen, GBA’s president and CEO.
Jay Groen served in the U.S. Air Force and spent a year at Yale University learning Chinese to be a linguist for his two-year term in Vietnam. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the University of Utah and a Master in Economics from Virginia Tech.
After earning his degrees, he worked for 10 years as an expert on the Chinese economy with the CIA. He left the government to become an entrepreneur in several endeavors. In the early 1980s, Jay and David were partners in Seagull Recycling. They also collaborated on a best-selling novel, “Huey,” about a helicopter pilot’s experiences in Vietnam.
GBA is recognized as a leading authority on autorotative flight. GBA developed the world’s first commercially viable modern gyroplane to use a jet engine, the Hawk 4 Gyroplane powered by a Rolls-Royce gas turbine engine. The Hawk 4 was used extensively for security aerial patrol missions during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Meanwhile, the company has chosen David Groen to replace his brother as chairman of the board.
David Groen, a 7,000-hour pilot, will continue the work his brother began with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to design a proof-of-concept high-speed, long-range, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for use in combat search and rescue roles.
For more information: GroenBros.com