About Black Swift

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™ system 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 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 –

Jack has a M.S. in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado. Prior to founding Black Swift, he was an engineering consultant at Forge Aeronautics, a local startup, where he was one of the lead designers of a small, low-cost autopilot. Dr. Elston’s research involved the development of four unmanned aircraft systems at the Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles. This included co-authoring a software suite for service discovery and subsystem intercommunication in complex aerial networks, and conducting over 500 flights with unmanned aircraft.


Maciej has a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado working on UAS related research and has been involved in over 500 flights with unmanned aircraft. This work also involved working closely with the FAA to secure permission to perform flights legally in the National Airspace System. Maciej is also the principal investigator for a NASA project to map soil moisture from a small UAS utilizing an L-band radiometer.

Senior Engineer

Douglas Weibel has a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado. His primary research interest is the use of small drone’s for environmental research and his recent academic publications address high-accuracy attitude and velocity estimation from small drones flown in wind and using inexpensive drones to collect oceanographic measurements. His experience with drones includes being an early principal developer for the ArduPilot open-source autopilot system, designing drone state-estimation and control-system hardware and algorithms at the University of Colorado, and piloting drones during numerous research campaigns funded by NOAA, NASA and NSF. He has a wide range of competencies and interests. Examples of his diverse skill set include racing a 15-meter sailplane at the national level, holding FINRA Series 7 and 66 registrations, managing multiple private investment firms, and teaching graduate and undergraduate courses.

– Cory Dixon –
Director of Engineering & Operations

Cory Dixon has a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering as well as a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Dixon has been involved with the design, development, and testing of autonomous robotic systems for over thirteen years ranging from small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) to explosive ordinance disposal ground robotic systems. During his graduate studies, Dr. Dixon was the primary engineer, designer, and pilot for three different successful unmanned aircraft platforms and systems. In total, he has worked with or flown over eleven different unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), with differing autopilot systems, in Colorado, Florida, and Alaska operational areas. He developed the emergency procedures protocol used by RECUV at the University of Colorado in the operations of UAS, which has resulted in more than sixty FAA Certificates of Authorization (COAs). Recently, Dr. Dixon has managed numerous commercial and government contracts and was the Principal Investigator (PI) on a DoD Phase I and two DoD Phase II SBIRs.

– Jon Vince –
General Counsel

Jon holds a B.A. (Hons.) and J.D. from Canadian universities and an LL.M. in Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he completed his thesis on satellite signal interference liability. Prior to joining Black Swift Technologies, Jon worked in numerous positions including as a communications attorney for a large mid-west regional law firm and as a satcom business consultant at an international business consulting firm in the space and satellite sector. Jon’s specialized experience revolves around international and federal regulatory law regarding wireless communications and remote sensing technologies, including representation before the FAA and FCC. He has significant experience in legal practice, business consulting and business development.