The Vigilant Entrepreneur – A Flight Tragedy Begets Stuart McClure’s Passion For Safety


Entrepreneur recognizes a need, problem, or oversight. Entrepreneur builds company to produce a solution. You’ve heard that story a few thousand times before, I imagine. If you were looking for a formulaic script to write a startup success tale, this is where you’d begin but you probably wouldn’t come up with anything to match the true story of Stuart McClure. McClure found inspiration for his company Cylance in an unforgettable, (and one can only hope unique), harrowing fashion.





Computer Security

Cylance provides stealth security products and services. They look to protect people by addressing security matters before problems arise. From banking institutions, to critical infrastructure sectors like transportation, oil and gas, Cylance intends to thwart cyber-attacks and more. A combination of research, software, and a skilled response team aim to prevent and eliminate a wide range of security threats. And while this might sound like the makings of a riveting Mission Impossible-type movie (for more details, visit here), reality proves even more gripping.





The Nightmare

Twenty-three years earlier, when McClure was a college student, he boarded United flight 811 on his way to enjoy a holiday trip in Australia. He was about to doze off as the plane ascended out of Honolulu, bound for Auckland, when his life changed.


He heard a series of terrifying sounds. Smoke filled the cabin. A piece of the fuselage was gone. He looked out the window and saw engines on fire. The plane pitched downward. People were praying, crying, screaming in confusion, and preparing for the end. For ten long, horrifying minutes as the plane attempted to execute an emergency landing in Hawaii, McClure prepared for his death and experienced what he would call a revelation of all the missed opportunities, unmet challenges, and loved ones missed.


Somehow, the plane landed. McClure would have the chance to speak later with Captain David Cronin, who couldn’t explain the return. Over two hundred computer simulations using the flight data resulted in a water or land crash. Nine passengers died when they were ejected from the airplane over the sea. The remaining 328 passengers and 18 flight crew survived.





A Passion For Safety

Eventually, the cause of the accident was revealed to be a design flaw in the cargo door latching mechanism. The airline industry knew about this issue because of similar problems on many flights beforehand. Sadly, nothing had been done to fix the problem.


Out of the tragedy, however, McClure discovered, “a present beyond words that day: a life’s passion.” He would devote himself to identifying and fixing problems before bad things happened to innocent people. His mission became to keep people safe.





Already, McClure built and sold the prestigious security company Foundstone in 2004. He’s not letting any opportunities pass by him by though, nor is he likely to forget that the vulnerable need tireless defenders looking out for them. Follow Cylance here on Facebook or Twitter.


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