North Dakota is a thriving ecosystem of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in public and private use. Through the development of Vantis, a statewide network enabling UAS flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), it is poised to become the nation's epicenter of commercial UAS activity. Vantis is the first such program of its scale in the United States.
Our UAS Experience
Reducing Barriers to Success
The state has taken the lead through capital investment and infrastructure, while facilitating regulatory approvals and commercial applications. Vantis' team brings together leaders with decades of aviation, telecommunication and government experience in fostering innovation and reducing barriers to success.
Diversifying North Dakota's Economy
The uses for UAS are growing exponentially, and North Dakota has played a leadership role from the start. In the past decade, the state's UAS industry has grown from several dozen workers to more than 1,000. UAS act as the connectors of the sky and serve to diversify ND's economy. Railroads brought prosperity. So will UAS.
When UAS people think North Dakota, they think Nicholas Flom. He's the executive director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, charged with executing the FAA's UAS Integration Pilot Program, and was appointed by Gov. Doug Burgum to co-chair the state's UAS Detection/Counter UAS Task Force. He participates on the FAA's Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team, actively contributes to and advises industry groups, and is a voting member of Committee F38 on UAS. When North Dakota greenlighted its statewide UAS network, Nicholas was the obvious choice to lead it.
Aviation, both manned and unmanned, has been shaped by Jim. He's spent 25 years developing and implementing advanced aviation-systems technology, including early work on the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and next-gen air traffic control technologies. More recently, Jim helped commercial efforts to facilitate the integration of UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS). North Dakota's intention to build out a statewide BVLOS network to enable commercial UAS flights tempted Jim away from Alaska's Last Frontier to the newest UAS frontier: right here on the prairie.
After several years working in retail and supply chain management, specializing in process implementation and improvement, Mike has returned to his first love: aviation. His bachelor's degree in aeronautics paired with his experience managing people and processes allowed him to transition smoothly into the fast-evolving world of UAS. His work directing large-scale operations and system upgrades make him a perfect fit to oversee the myriad moving pieces and advanced technologies in a groundbreaking project such as Vantis.
A researcher at heart, Chris is the mastermind behind some of our boldest ideas. He's been involved in UAS research for nearly 15 years. His earliest work focused on ground-based Sense and Avoid, and has come to encompass Detect and Avoid, cooperative airspace, UAS support infrastructure, UAS Traffic Management, and other areas aimed at facilitating UAS integration into the NAS. These areas of research are instrumental in making complex BVLOS operations possible.
Jakee is the definition of homegrown UAS expertise. Born and raised in the state, he graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Science at the first accredited UAS program in the country. He worked as a flight instructor for UND Flight Operations, supported research with the Air Force Research Lab, served as a pilot on the Northeast Regional UAS Team, before joining NPUASTS, where he has been an instrumental part of enabling true BLVOS flights.
Julie has spent her entire career looking toward the skies. She began in meteorology, and was instrumental in coordinating, expanding, and optimizing the Meridian multi-state 511 system to improve public safety. It's no surprise, then, that she transitioned to working in the UAS industry, using her particular skills in managing teams, keeping day-to-day operations running smoothly, and fine-tuning contracts and budgets to push us toward safer skies.
Pushing boundaries in this industry means making safety your true north, and Trevor is our compass. He ensures that safety is our primary objective during any operation. He never asks if the next advancement in the industry is possible - only how we get there. His work has facilitated advancements in C2 and DAA technologies, and BVLOS operations. As the lead for NPUASTS' participation in the FAA's Integration Pilot Program, he's also worked to accelerate the approval process for advanced operations and improve public perception of UAS.
Resident wordsmith and social media aficionado, Nicole prides herself on taking the highly technical world of UAS and translating it for the public. To her, UAS advancements mean improved public safety, better healthcare access, and faster package delivery - the practical applications that make this work so important. Greater public understanding means greater public acceptance, which means more opportunities to use her favorite hashtag: #DronesSaveLives. Because they do.