So, let’s gather ‘round the yule log to celebrate this past year and look forward to 2018. 2017 was an exciting year for the business with validated use cases for airborne intelligence in oil and gas pipeline, telecom and public safety sectors. Among the highlights:
WOW™: Working with technology partner Verizon together with the County of Cape May, NJ, the NJ State Police and the U.S. Coast Guard, we conducted this summer the first ever successful demonstration of flying cell site technology — we call it WOW™, Wireless on Wings™ — in an exercise involving federal, state, county and local first responder agencies.
Cloud-to-Cloud: We also were pleased to work with Verizon on Airborne LTE Operations (ALO) development, enabling the power of near real-time transmission of data from aircraft over the Verizon LTE network to the cloud.
Irma: During hurricane season, American Aerospace demonstrated its value in airborne reconnaissance in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Using a manned aircraft with the company’s InstiMaps™ mapping and sensor payload over a 100-mile stretch of the Florida Keys, we rapidly generated interactive maps containing a wealth of data showing comparative post-storm map-based imagery over different time windows demonstrating the great value to infrastructure operators and first responders in accelerating recovery from disasters. In addition to sharing our information immediately with public and private sector parties, we also held a subsequent webinar to explain the capabilities we demonstrated during the mission
Wine Country Wildires: In the wake of the California wine country fires, American Aerospace deployed a Cessna 210 aircraft with our InstiMaps™ payload to provide critical views of network infrastructure otherwise inaccessible due to blocked roads and overhead views blocked by smoky wildfires. The data and imagery were captured and uploaded the same day over the Verizon 4G LTE network and shared with Verizon’s cell site inspection and repair operations team.
Oil Spill Reconnaissance: In Q4, American Aerospace participated in an unmanned aircraft system exercise with a host of industry, federal and state partners in Goleta, CA. The exercise in the Santa Barbara Channel demonstrated InstiMaps providing offshore and shoreline map-based imagery in near real time to NOAA’s GIS-based mapping application called the Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA) to validate new workflows that can accelerate tasking to cleanup crews..
Expanding Our Team Capabilities: We added some new talent to an already strong American Aerospace management team. Jon Kirchner signed on as an Advisor to assist in strategic planning and financial and investment planning. He has 30 years of general and global management leadership experience with Big Data, Big Aerospace to Industrial, Enterprise and Government customers. Former Verizon Wireless Technology Fellow (ret.) Dave McCarley, who helped launch our flying cell site partnership with his company, signed on this year as a technology advisor with his deep experience and industry-wide reputation as an expert in wireless. Tom Pica, also a former Verizon Wireless executive, signed on to help American Aerospace enhance its brand reputation, lending his public relations and social media expertise.
As a result of these and other activities, we feel very confident of our continued growth in the coming year. Although we remain platform agnostic and ready on a moment’s notice to deploy aboard manned aircraft, we see maturation and promise of long-endurance unmanned aircraft operations in disasters in 2018.
We have nurtured our relationship with the FAA and other government agencies as we continue to develop protocols, procedures, policies and use cases for deployment of UAS in post-disaster environments. Long-endurance UAS have demonstrated clear value over small UAS by virtue of their persistence, coverage rate, superior value and return on investment.
We also intend to continue to evangelize for airborne intelligence systems as we have throughout the past year at such industry and government forums as American Petroleum Institute, the Cape May County UAS Conference and Pennsylvania Aviation conferences and Verizon’s Public Safety Days.
All in all, we see a bright future for American Aerospace, airborne intelligence and communications services and unmanned aircraft systems. However, just don’t think for a moment that we have any intention of going after the holiday market leader in airborne delivery systems that Norad tracks every December — you know the big white-bearded elf in the red suit, a twinkle in his eye, a heck of a payload and an airborne system powered by nine magical aerodynamic reindeer.
In closing, the American Aerospace team wants to wish everyone a Happy Holiday season and a Happy New Year!
Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous new year,
CEO, Founder & Elf in Chief