Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 20
TOP FLIGHT TECHNOLOGIES
Flight Technologies is known
as an innovative provider of
Top Flight will make a big impact with its powerful drone, the Airborg H8 10K. BY BIANCA HERRON
IT alumnus Long Phan (Mechanical Engineering BS, MS,
PhD) and a team of engineers
and expert advisors helped
build the Draper Small Autonomous Aerial
Vehicle, the world's first fully autonomous
helicopter, in the mid-1990s. In 2014, not
long after battery drones became widely
available, Phan was approached by the
MIT Lincoln Laboratory with a mission to
solve the payload and extended flight time
problems for battery-based drones.
Again, Phan teamed up with his former
colleagues and advisors and designed a
micro-scale hybrid electric-gas engine for
drones that would fly for nearly two-and-ahalf hours. That same year, Phan co-founded Top Flight Technologies Inc. with fellow
business associate John Polo, who is chief
CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017
operating officer; and MIT Professor Sanjay
Sarma, board member and chief technology advisor.
Three years later, the Boston-based
company is a leading innovative provider
Top Flight Technologies
* HQ: Malden, Mass.
* Specia y: Hybrid energy power ystems
"There's virtually no ing operating in agile aerospace today."
- Dr. Long Phan, co-founder and CEO
of extended-flight, enhanced-payload,
hybrid-powered commercial unmanned
aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Its products enable
new business solutions for customers in
aerospace, emergency response, energy and
mining, construction, transportation & logistics, agriculture and many other industries.
Innovation On Purpose
According to research firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the U.S. market for dronebased business services is worth more than
$127 billion. However, today's battery-operated drones can fly for only 30 minutes
before their batteries need to be recharged,
or the drones are swapped out themselves.
Additionally, there are gasoline-based
drones and traditional fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters that can carry more