About Black Swift Technologies

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Based in Boulder, CO and founded in 2011, Black Swift Technologies is recognized for delivering reliable, robust, and highly accurate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) capable of flying scientific payloads in demanding atmospheric environments (high-altitude, arctic, desert, 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.

Modular by Design, Accurate by Nature™

With the goal of ubiquitous UAS usage through advanced capabilities, all Black Swift’s solutions leverage its acclaimed SwiftCore™ Flight Management System (FMS), an advanced end-to-end avionics solution enabling users to control, communicate, and command their UAS for fully autonomous flight. SwiftCore™ FMS provides 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.

Custom Project Engineering & Development

Engineered to meet the demands of nomadic scientific field campaigns in harsh environments, the entire SwiftCore™ Flight Management System (FMS) is designed for ease of use along with accurate flight tracking, even in high winds. The SwiftCore FMS has been approved and used for major scientific missions by NASA, deployments by NOAA, and by a growing list of commercial users including engineering and survey professionals, construction and mining managers, as well as atmospheric and environmental monitoring by scientific and academic organizations worldwide. SwiftCore FMS consists of the SwiftPilot™ autopilot system, the SwiftTab™ tablet-based user interface, the SwiftStation™ ground station, and application specific sensor integrations.


SwiftCore can be integrated into any UAS platform and customized to meet the specific demands of your missions. Contact Black Swift Technologies to learn more about how SwiftCore can work for you.

Leadership Team

Jack Elston CEO

Dr. Elston is the CEO and co-founder of Black Swift Technologies. He has a strong background in conducting in-situ atmospheric measurements from UAS, and is intimately familiar with the issues associated with operating unmanned aircraft in hazardous conditions. Dr. Elston received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Boulder based on work that developed a complex meshed network, unmanned aircraft system, and control algorithms for in situ sampling of tornadic supercell thunderstorms. Dr. Elston is also the technical lead on all avionics work at BST including the creation of the highly capable autopilot system that anchors the SwiftCore Flight Management System.  He has been the PI for several Phase I and Phase II SBIR efforts, including developing systems for sampling hurricanes with UAS as well as the investigation of the Venus atmosphere with fixed-wing aircraft.

Maciej Stachura CTO

Dr. Stachura is the Chief Technology Officer for Black Swift Technologies. He received his M.S. and Ph.D., both in aerospace engineering, from the University of Colorado Boulder. During his time at CU, Dr. Stachura was involved in over 300 fight experiments ranging from multi-aircraft cooperative flight experiments to the VORTEX2 field campaign, which involved the first-ever intercept of a tornadic supercell thunderstorm. Dr. Stachura has also been responsible for securing and maintaining over 140 FAA Certificates of Authorization (COA) to perform legal flight operations over large parts of Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska. Dr. Stachura has been the PI for a Phase I and Phase II NASA SBIR focused on the development, testing, and on-going commercialization of a soil moisture mapping UAS.

Bill Nickerson VP Sales

Bill Nickerson is the VP of Sales for Black Swift Technologies. He is responsible for all sales and business development initiatives for the company. Mr. Nickerson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in International Relations. In addition to his 25 years’ experience working with Fortune 500 companies, State and Federal Government, universities, and SMB’s around the globe, Mr. Nickerson has been actively involved in the business of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its potential to transform the way we analyze and interpret data.

Josh Fromm Payload Integration Specialist

At BST, Mr. Fromm specializes in the integration of science payloads into UAS platforms to ensure the operation of the sensing equipment is impacted as minimally as possible by aircraft dynamics, control systems and communication systems. Mr. Fromm received his B.S. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering, concentration in Fluid Dynamics, in 2009. During his time there he worked extensively with unmanned systems. Mr. Fromm has designed, integrated and tested aircraft and payload systems such as the Dream Chaser mass model that was successfully drop tested at DFRC (now AFRC) to characterize flight dynamics and modes. Mr. Fromm also designed a payload system intended for use inside a C-130 flare tube for Acquisition of Ice Thickness and Ice Surface Characteristics. This payload included a sensor suite of EO optics, IR thermometers, laser range finder, and a hyperspectral radiometer.

Ben Busby Lead Software Developer

Mr. Busby is the head of software development and operations at Black Swift Technologies. His extensive programming background has allowed him to learn and implement new technologies quickly and efficiently across Android, iOS, and web platforms. Throughout his career he has achieved success on a wide variety of applications, with features including encrypted messaging and file sharing, low-latency live video streaming, intuitive gesture based UX development, data visualization, and cutting-edge ASCII game physics.

Danny Troke Lead Technician

Danny has been building and fixing drones since 2013. His love of figuring out how things work has lead him to building drones and ensuring that every component is working before it goes on a mission or is sent to our customers. He has an in depth understanding of how to operate the systems and has trained a multitude of customers from all over the country as well as several international customers.

Take your scientific research to the next level with Black Swift Technologies.