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Building Highways In The Sky

By Luke Geiver | November 13, 2014

Jonathan Evans has always had his eye on the sky. Once a Blackhawk pilot for the U.S. military, then later a first responder pilot working out of Alaska, Evans has since become the man behind a unique unmanned aerial systems demonstration project that could reveal the safe and future flight patterns for UAVs operated in urban settings like Las Vegas or London.

I spoke with Evans about his history in aviation (he flew a special fleet of Blackhawks based of out D.C. for Congress) and how it led him to found the UAV software platform firm, Skywards. His story reveals the incredible vision some of the UAS industry’s new and exciting companies have shown in the past few years.

When Evans first decided to pursue a career in UAS—he was in his flight suit in Alaska awaiting the order to take off on a first response mission—he wasn’t thinking of starting a UAV supply empire or a payload distribution center. Evans wanted to tap into his experience flying and the constant need to comply. According to Evans, flying is as much about flight checks and complying with regulations as anything. After a quick stint in the University of Oregon’s Masters in Business Administration program, Evans started Skyward. The company now provides a software package that helps operators receive and maintain certificates of authorization, insurance coverage and more.

With his Urban Skyways project, he’ll help to use his software developed by an impressive team, to highlight how safe UAVs can be when used in a virtual, highway system in the sky. Check out our story on the project here, and, you can bet the full story of Skyward will make it into print. (We are already looking for a photo of Evans piloting a Blackhawk).