About The Team

Tim Heely

Tim Heely - CEO

Aviation has been a major part of Tim's life for over forty years. He was a naval aviator amassing over 3500 hours flying single seat tactical jets from aircraft carriers and commanded an F/A-18 squadron during the Gulf War. He attained the rank of Rear Admiral and in his final position with the US Navy was responsible for development, test, acquisition and sustainment of all US Navy and Marine Corps unmanned aviation from 2004 to 2008. After retiring from the Navy he was a senior executive with Cobham plc and led its unmanned system endeavors.

Tim received a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

Daniel Hatfield

Daniel Hatfield

Daniel has a distinguished career in aerospace, including over a decade of unmanned-vehicle-specific experience. As the Senior Aerodynamicist and a Project Engineer at Scaled Composites, Daniel was responsible for aerodynamic, performance, and aeroelastic design and analysis of the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer, which completed the first nonstop solo airplane flight around the world in 2005. He also performed configuration selection and performance analysis for Space Ship One, which in 2004 completed the first privately-funded human spaceflight. Other contributions were wing design of the Adam A500 prototype and FAA certification modifications for the VisionAire Vantage.

Daniel received Bachelors of Science degrees in Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis. He performed experimental research into the dynamic stability for an Earth re-entry capsule at The von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics in Brussels, and completed two years of graduate studies at the University of California, Davis.

Neil Bortlein

Neil Boertlein

Neil has over a decade of direct experience in unmanned aircraft design and test, with particular focus in systems engineering, modeling and simulation, and mechanical design. Immediately prior to co-founding Vanilla Aircraft, Neil served as the Project Engineer and Propulsion IPT Lead of a turbine/electric-hybrid UAV development program which completed first flight in 2009.

Neil received a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University in 2003 and a Masters of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University in 2004.

Jeremy Novara

Jeremy Novara

Jeremy is lead for flight operations, program management and finance at Vanilla Aircraft. Prior to co-founding Vanilla Aircraft, Jeremy served as an assembly, integration and test engineer on several advanced unmanned aircraft development programs, and has flight time on multiple FAA-approved UAS in the national airspace.

Jeremy received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California, Davis in 2005, and received his FAA private pilot certificate in 2008.