About Us

Founded by MIT atmospheric scientists, aerospace executives, UAV Lighter-Than-Air engineers, and an Advisory Board comprised of world experts in remote sensing, and environmental research.

TWAI consists of two entities: hardware oriented, Solar Falcon, Inc. –  developer of the Solar Falcon vehicle with responsibility for Solar Falcon development, testing, certification, and production. The second entity, analytics oriented, is responsible for data products, customer solutions, operations, and sensor development.



A.T. Stair – Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Retired Chief Scientist of the Air Force Geophysics Laboratory, Program Manager and PI with overall responsibility on multiple satellite Programs; 1) Cirrus 1, the first DOD payload on the Space Shuttle, STS 4, took one year 2) Cirrus 1A, the first cryogenic infrared sensor on the Space Shuttle, 3) the Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) and 4) Chief Scientist of the Russian American Observation Satellites Program (RAMOS). He is also a president of Visidyne, Inc. that brought a lot of technology to TWAI under licensing agreement.

Paul Joss – Founder & Chief Technology Officer

Professor Emeritus of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT theoretical physics professor. Jointly established the thermodynamic relationship between hurricane intensity and measurements of TCIM critical parameters; eyewall altitude and temperature. Paul has devoted the past 41 years to the development, deployment, and use of satellite-based platforms for the collection of scientific data from space. His efforts have contributed to a number of highly successful satellite missions by NASA and the European Space Agency.

George Lauro – Executive Director

Former Managing Director & Partner at Wasserstein Perella, a leading Wall Street Private Equity, & Leveraged Buyout firm. As a VC investor and tech entrepreneur, built several companies from prototype stage to high-value M&A or IPO. Has been a Board Director at 6 public and 26 private companies including multiple Chairman and/or Interim CEO roles.  George began his career designing inertial guidance packages for spacecraft & missiles at MIT/Draper lab. He was Program Manager with responsibility for development of multiple space qualified guidance packages at Astronautics Corp. Inventor with 23 patents awarded.

Ilya Schiller – TWAI President

Ilya Schiller has an established track record for building businesses and creating products in high tech industry. Mr. Schiller has a deep understanding of product life cycle, business and customer interaction and importance of building a strong team. Ilya Schiller co-founded Digital Ink, Inc. that developed electronic pen system for communication using handwritten notes. He served as CEO, spearheading the company’s business and technology development efforts and raised $5.5M in two stages of venture capital funds. Prior to Digital Ink, Mr. Schiller was vice president in charge of advanced projects at KTAADN, Inc., which achieved 400 percent growth during his tenure.

Yves L. Leblicq – Solar Falcon, Inc. President (Acting)

Yves L. Leblicq has a long international career as an executive in Brussels, Boston, Paris and Canada. Acting as Chairman of the Board, President and Vice-President for large groups like Honeywell, GE-Bull, Champion, BNP Paris-Bas, DiscoveryAir where he developed state of the art technology assuming responsibility for R&D groups up to 70 developers and or product support and distribution through a self-created International network of subsidiaries counting 130 highly skilled employees. As a consultant, he advised several governments on Aeronautics matters, produced full business plans for Airlines, participated to Aircraft Civilian Aviation FAR23 certification, developed a full Civilian Aviation Safety system (SMS), helped a Canadian region to upgrade its Airport to International flight activity.  Yves.L.Leblicq speaks English, French, Dutch and is a Canadian licensed private pilot.

Jean Genest – Solar Falcon, Inc. Vice President

Jean Genest is an aerospace executive who completed several successful startups in specialized aviation.  His previous experience includes the development of a long range Hybrid Air Vehicle to provide logistic services to the Canadian north. A Test Pilot School graduate, he was chairman of the Flight Test Section of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute in the 1990’s while acumulating flight test hours in jets and helicopters.  Jean is co-owner of Pole Air Aviation, a maintenance and repair organization (MRO) providing services to tier-one airlines and OEM’s worldwide since 1972.

MIT Professor Kerry Emanuel
Chairman – TWAI Science Advisory Board

Professor, Atmospheric Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Widely considered to be the world’s leading authority on the physics of hurricanes. Professor Emanuel’s research interests focus on tropical meteorology and global climate change

  • Developed the accepted theory of the large-scale thermodynamics of hurricanes, demonstrating how these storms derive their energy from the thermal energy stored in the surface of tropical and subtropical oceans
  • Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Lorenz Center, an MIT think tank devoted to fundamental inquiry into the understanding and prediction of global climate change
  • Named one of the Time 100 influential people of 2006. In 2007, he was elected as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
  • Author or co-author of more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed publications