July 3, 2019

Black Swift Technologies (BST), a specialized engineering firm based in Boulder, CO, announced today that Jack Elston, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Black Swift Technologies LLC, has accepted the invitation extended by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to attend as a recognized expert presenter at the WMO Workshop on the Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for Operational Meteorology, in Toulouse, France, on 2-4 July 2019. The workshop has the overall aim to develop consensus and mutual understanding on utilizing UAV for operational meteorology and the potential benefits to data users, applications areas, aeronautical meteorology and aviation.

Dr. Elston is uniquely qualified to address the use of UAS for atmospheric sampling.  He received his PhD from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2011 developing a system and algorithms for sUAS sampling of supercell thunderstorms. This work culminated in the design of a system used to conduct the first ever intercept of a tornadic thunderstorm by an unmanned aircraft as part of the NSF and NOAA funded VORTEX2 project. He’s also performed research specifically focused on the accuracy of wind measurements from fixed wing aircraft and the use of wind in convective storms for aircraft energy harvesting to extend mission time. At Black Swift Technologies he led the effort to design the SwiftCore autopilot system, and has participated in the design and operation of unmanned aircraft systems for volcanic plume observation, wildfire monitoring, satellite validation, soil moisture measurement, and even for the exploration of the upper atmosphere of Venus.

BST’s advanced, purpose-built aerial scientific research platform, the Black Swift S2™, has been employed in a wide variety of atmospheric research application areas including:

      High-altitude, high-latitude atmospheric research studies in Greenland operating in temperatures near -20°C at altitudes up to 14,000 feet analyzing water vapor above the ice sheet to better understand how climate conditions are impacting Greenland’s atmosphere.

      Nighttime in situ measurements of wildfire plumes and remote measurements of wildfire properties utilizing multiple sensors capable of research-quality measurements of CO2, CO, aerosol, RH, p, and T found in the wildfire plumes, while also providing multispectral high-resolution maps of wildfires, advancing fire weather modeling and forecasting.

      Volcano plume monitoring with sensors specifically designed to measure selected gases and a nephelometer to assess volcanic particle size and distribution, as well as atmospheric probes to analyze pressure, temperature, humidity, and three-dimensional wind patterns, in order to improve air traffic management systems and the accuracy of ashfall measurements.

      Soil moisture mapping (up to 600 acres per flight) using multiple sensors including an L-band radiometer capable of measuring soil moisture content up to 10 cm below the ground, even under dense canopy crops.

      Airborne CO2 monitoring in volcanic regions to measure CO2 and plant response around volcanoes in order to understand the ecosystem response in the tropics, the lungs of the planet.

      Using a multispectral camera array for Landsat-8 OLI, and S-NPP VIIRS instrument calibration with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

      Airborne measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), methane (CH4), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S), as well as generation of orthomosaic, thermal and 3D data products. Resulting data will help NASA/JPL to better understand how volcanoes work, and improve volcano eruption planning and warning capabilities.

      Using P-band reflective signals to measure SWE (Snow Water Equivalent) in mountainous environments from an unmanned aerial platform.

      Integration of a thermal and hyperspectral payload for use in coastline monitoring.

Special Thanks to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

In support of his participation at the WMO workshop, Dr. Elston was awarded the Advanced Industries (AI) Export Grant by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). The grant, funded by the Colorado Advanced Industries Acceleration Program, is designed to help small and medium-sized Colorado businesses advance their international business development and marketing initiatives.

About Black Swift Technologies

Based in Boulder, CO and founded in 2011, Black Swift Technologies LLC, is recognized for delivering reliable, robust, and highly accurate unmanned aircraft systems capable of flying scientific payloads in demanding atmospheric environments (high-altitude, corrosive particulates, and strong turbulence). Its purpose-built scientific aerial platforms are used around the globe for a variety of specialized atmospheric research missions in extreme conditions, including monitoring and assessing wildland fires, volcanoes, tornadoes, and hurricanes.

Precision aerial initiatives leveraging its UAS solutions include: environmental monitoring, precision aerial mapping, infrastructure inspection, engineering and surveying, construction management and monitoring, precision agriculture, volumetric measurement, stockpile management, and risk mitigation.

All Black Swift’s UAS solutions leverage its acclaimed SwiftCore™ Flight Management System (FMS)consisting of the SwiftPilot™ autopilot system, the SwiftTab™ tablet-based user interface, the SwiftStation™ ground station, and application specific sensor integrations. The SwiftCore™ FMS is designed to be modular, robust, and simple to operate allowing users to focus on data products.

More information on Black Swift Technologies and their suite of UAS solutions can be found at: bst.aero.

Company Details

Founded in 2011, Black Swift Technologies LLC, develops custom unmanned aircraft system (UAS) solutions leveraging the SwiftCoreTM Flight Management System (FMS) consisting of the SwiftPilotTM autopilot system, the SwiftTabTM tablet-based user interface, the SwiftStationTM ground station, and application specific sensor integrations. The SwiftCoreTM FMS is designed to be modular, robust, and simple to operate allowing users to focus on data products.

In addition to the SwiftCore FMS, Black Swift Technologies has unique capabilities to develop and deploy advanced small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) due the team’s combined expertise in the design, implementation, and analysis of advanced “smart” control systems, expertise in legal and safe flight operations in the United States airspace, and their practical experience and knowledge from thousands of hours of UAS flight operations in demanding conditions. The SwiftCore FMS enables advanced control systems. These “smart” control systems provide industry leading sensor-based control of the UAS that minimizes operator workload while improving the quality of the observed data by autonomously modifying the flight path based on sensor inputs.

More information on Black Swift Technologies and their suite of sUAS solutions can be found at: http://bst.aero