Updated: FAA, USAF, industry giants head to ND for UAS event

By Staff | July 24, 2019


The UAS Summit, recognized as the longest running UAS-themed event in the country, has announced new event offerings, including orginal content on both large and small UAS operations, lessons learned from drone business experts and a tour of a large UAS installation and operations site. 

Orginial UAS Input Revealed

Amongst the exhibitors on the expo floor, speakers from across the country will explain how they have applied new UAS technology to their respective sectors. Tom Nickell from Mobile Recon Systems plans to explain how a heavy lift multrotor capable of lifting 200 pounds has helped his team expand business. Jordan Cicoria, vice president of operations for Aerium Analytics, will talk about his efforts to utilize a bird-inspired drone for smart wildlife management. Brandon Baumbach, a business development director from the city often referred to as the capital of the silicon valley of drones, will share for the first time the lessons he's leanred working with drone entreprenuers looking to tap into the potential of his region and what it takes for those startups or major firms to make an impact. 

Nicholas Flom, executive director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, will be giving a keynote style presentation on the general state of UAS and what he and his team have learned about their work over the years in the ever-evolving UAS sector. 

From MITRE, Jeff Breunig, principal, will explain why companies across the country are taking intersest in his work on developing a new system. His talk will touch on the merits of a risk-based assessment approach to future UAS operations. 

Large UAS Operations

Thomas Swoyer, president of Grand Sky Development Co., and the founder of the nation's first UAS business and aviation park, is explaining his new venture: acquiring and utilizing two Northrop Grumman Firebirds for commercial UAS work. Joining Swoyer will be representatives from Northrop Grumman, one of the largest mannufacturers and technology developers of UAS in the world. Colonel's from two UAS-tasked U.S. Air Force Bases will also be attending the Summit to update department of defense personnel along with contractors on the work they are doing at their respecitve installations. 

Industry Leaders From FAA, USAF Talk State of UAS

Top officials from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Air Force have announced their intention to partake in a unique joint-presentation. Daniel Elwell, acting FAA Administrator and General David Goldfein, chief of staff for the U.S. Air Force, will take the stage together at the 2019 UAS Summit. The industry's longest-running event for the broad UAS industry, the Summit was chosen for the unique dual presentation of major leaders due to its prominence and impact on the UAS industry. 

"We are excited and honored to have the leaders from several major aviation organizations presenting at this year’s UAS Summit. With General David Goldfein, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff and senior uniformed Air Force officer, the Summit will provide an opportunity for attendees and exhibitors alike to hear firsthand how the U.S. Air Force views the future of UAS. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell will join General Goldfein on stage to offer the FAA’s input on the unmanned aviation space,” says Luke Geiver, editor and program director for UAS Magazine, the lead organizer for the Summit this year. “Senator John Hoeven from North Dakota, often referred to as the Silicon Valley of Drones, will join Goldfein and Elwell on stage in what should be an exciting, unique and powerful one-hour keynote presentation.”

This year’s agenda has been created with informative and timely presentations. The agenda will feature speakers with expertise on a specific topic area, including: the current state of the UAS industry; realizing beyond visual line of sight; or finding the future use of UAS in large and small operations.”

The 2019 program will have presentations given by the most influential UAS entities from the world, such as:

-Northrop Grumman

-General Atomics Aeronautical Systems

-Northern Plains UAS Test Site


-Grand Sky

-L3 Harris Technologies

-AiRXOS, a GE Venture




-and more

The Summit, taking place in the original epicenter of drone research, offers the most open airspace in the country. The Northern Plains has become the “Silicon Valley of Drones” and the sky is now filled with activity from commercial, government and military users.

“This year’s Summit may be the most informative and meaningful event we’ve ever assembled” says John Nelson, vice president of marketing and sales for UAS Magazine. “Whether you are commercial or military, you will gain comprehensive insight and network with the industry’s top leaders. Grand Forks is where commercialization and innovation are happening.”

To view summit details: UAS Summit & Expo