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Proven Expertise

About Us

We have entered the 4th Industrial Revolution1, and Top Flight is at its epicenter.

Industry is at the beginning of a revolution that is fundamentally changing the way we live, work, and relate to one another through the unprecedented integration of technologies that range from the 3-D printing and the internet of things (IoT), to robotics and energy storage.2

At Top Flight, we have solved previously insurmountable problems, like payload capacity and range constraints, in the agile aerospace 2.0 arena. In true MIT fashion, we are currently working on the biggest hurdles ahead for major industrial companies and the nations they represent:  scale, reliability, fault tolerance, and security.

Success in meeting the challenges ahead demands a first principles approach and collaborative relationships that are ushering in the second machine age3.

It is a new paradigm, but the economic potential is boundless, and the primary winners will be decided within the next 10 years.

People

We, at Top Flight, are …

Proud to have been founded at MIT, and imbued with its long heritage of innovation and resourcefulness.

A culture of industry leaders and pioneers.

Creators of revolutionary patented technology and solutions.

The leaders in the technology and economics of agile aerospace.

Strong advocates of the first principles approach.

Team

Dr. Long Phan

CEO & President, CTO

Dr. Samir Nayfeh

Chief Scientist

John Polo

Chief Operating Officer

Nancy DeCicco

Acting Chief Financial Officer

Professor Sanjay Sarma

Chief Technology Advisor

Dr. Matthew Sweetland

Vice President, Engineering

Dr. Paul DeBitetto

Vice President, Software Engineering

Close Team Member Description

Dr. Long Phan

CEO & President, CTO

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Dr. Long Phan is responsible for executing the overall vision for Top Flight Technologies. In addition, he leads research, product development, strategic software and services partnerships to be used in the Company’s products. Long has over 20 years of experience in the field of robotics and autonomous systems.  At MIT, he was an initial member of the MIT/Draper Aerial Robotics team in 1994, the first team in the world to demonstrate a fully autonomous helicopter from takeoff to landing at Disney World’s Epcot Center in 1996.  He has created a product development roadmap for Top Flight that leverages original designs and existing advanced technologies through strategic partnerships. Long was also a veteran on Wall Street where he was an early pioneer in remote algorithmic trading systems, high frequency trading, and a high volume contributor on the NYSE (over 1% daily volume).  He is a visionary and passionate entrepreneur who enjoys solving some of the most challenging problems in the world.  Long received his Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from MIT.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/long-n-phan-phd

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Dr. Samir Nayfeh

Chief Scientist

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Dr. Samir Nayfeh leads the mechanical design, engineering analysis, and IP development for core technology development at Top Flight. His expertise includes carbon fiber and composite engineering, heat transfer, controls, and the study of magnetic fields and its application for Top Flight’s hybrid electric power and structural designs.  Upon graduation in 1998, he joined the Mechanical Engineering faculty at MIT and served as an assistant professor until 2006. Samir has more than 20 years of deep technical design and mechanical engineering in the semi-conductor industry.  He has worked as part of Equlibria Design Group where he partnered with a variety of customers to bring complex electromechanical systems to market. He has published extensively on vibration damping, rotor dynamics, and control, and he has patents in fields ranging from weaving machines for composites to magnetically levitated stages for semiconductor production.  Samir received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from Virginia Tech and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. https://www.linkedin.com/in/samir-nayfeh-083a781

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John Polo

Chief Operating Officer

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John Polo is responsible for the operational leadership with Top Flight’s organizational structure and all company policies to support its employees, investors and clients. He has solid, hands-on business leadership from numerous senior management and IT leadership positions at $400m to $31b manufacturing, consumer products, and IT management consulting/product companies worldwide. John has 35 years of expertise leading companies such as Gartner Group, Kraft Foods North America and Perkin-Elmer (The Hubble Space Telescope), including strategic management consulting and mergers & acquisition roles. In addition he has been instrumental leading 8 investor-led IT and high-tech global start-ups as President, COO, VP/Business Strategy, Board Member and Founder, bringing each organization through business/product strategy, funding, market introduction, and a liquidity event. John received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and IT from the University of Connecticut. https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnpolo

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Nancy DeCicco

Acting Chief Financial Officer

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Nancy oversees the financial planning, accounting, and company policies. Her 30+ years of experience includes providing clients with solutions to their financial, structural, and organizational needs, including taxation, accounting, investment relations, and human resources. Her expertise and experience include the recent funding, corporate structure and financial strategies for several IT global start-ups. As CFO of several IT companies, Nancy brings a wealth of mergers and acquisitions experience to the group and has been involved, at a high level, in the due diligence process.  Nancy received her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Rutgers University.

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Professor Sanjay Sarma

Chief Technology Advisor

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Professor Sarma is the Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, and he is also the Vice President for Open Learning, which oversees MIT OpenCourseWare and supports the development and use of digital technology for on-campus teaching and massive open online courses. A co-founder of the Auto-ID Center at MIT, Sanjay developed many of the key technologies behind the RFID standards now used worldwide. Dr. Sarma’s principal areas of expertise include sensors, energy, IR thermography, RFID, mobility, Internet of Things, transportation, supply chain management, mechanical design, and computational geometry. He was the founder and CTO of OATSystems, which was acquired by Checkpoint Systems (NYSE: CKP) in 2008, and he has worked at Schlumberger Oilfield Services in Aberdeen, UK, and at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories in Berkeley, California.   In addition, he has stay linked to commercial business applying his 20+ years of engineering leadership to a number of high technology start-ups, national governments and global companies. As Top Flight’s Chief Technology Advisor oversees technology and intellectual property development.

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Dr. Matthew Sweetland

Vice President, Engineering

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Dr. Matthew Sweetland is responsible for leading Top Flight engineering teams including hybrid electric power, power conversion, energy management, structural design, mechanical engineering and assembly, electronics configuration, quality and testing, from proof-of-concept, through prototype and commercial manufacturing. Matt has over 20 years’ experience leading product and manufacturing development from early stage concept through high volume production. His expertise in lithium battery technologies, mechanical, electrical, chemical and polymer engineering has led to product development of fully automated high-volume production of lithium ion batteries for startup Nanoscale Components, and downhole tool innovation for Schlumberger in oil & gas exploration. More recently Matt has been Chief Engineer for other start-ups that includes Kortec Inc and Tribotek where in each company he directed all engineering and product development, through sales and post-sales operations. Matt received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, and is a proud veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. Matt has authored over 20 US patents in the fields of oil field exploration tools, high current density electrical connectors, mechanical joints and lithium ion technology.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-sweetland-718b75

Close Team Member Description

Dr. Paul DeBitetto

Vice President, Software Engineering

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Dr. Paul DeBitetto leads all Top Flight’s Software and Embedded Systems Development. That includes product-related flight control, simulation, computing, sensing, data communications, security-related controls and software solutions. Paul has spent 30 years with Draper Laboratory, most recently serving as Group Leader for the Perception and Localization Systems group within the Embedded Navigation and Sensor Systems division.  He has over 25 years of practical hands-on experience leading teams in the development of multi-sensor perception, navigation, and intelligent control systems for autonomous systems.  Recent research has focused on computer-vision-aided inertial navigation systems for GPS-denied operations, applied to a variety programs including the Army’s guided parafoil systems and soldier navigation, DoD micro-air-vehicles, NASA astronaut tracking, and autonomous driving applications.  Previously, Paul’s work centered on intelligent control for autonomous rotorcraft (DARPA), NAVY Advanced Seal Delivery System, and NASA’s Space Shuttle on-orbit flight control.  Paul was the original team leader of the MIT/Draper Aerial Robotics team, the first team in the world to demonstrate a fully autonomous helicopter from takeoff to landing at Disney World’s Epcot Center in 1996.  He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from State University of New York at Stony Brook, his Master’s Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT, and his Doctorate’s Degree in Electrical and Engineering Computer Science from Boston University.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-debitetto

Advisors

Tak Miyata

Strategic Business Advisor

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Tak Miyata is General Partner at Scrum Ventures. He has invested in over 40 startups related to commerce, health care, SaaS, video, and IoT in the U.S.. Tak also manages the shared space “Zen Square” in the heart of San Francisco. To promote awareness of technology and startup culture in Asia, Tak collaborates with media companies and events, such as, TechCrunch Japan, and B Dash Camp. Previously, Tak has had an international experience in the IT industry both as an entrepreneur and as a senior executive. He was the CEO of mixi America. Tak holds a Master’s degree in Nano Science from Waseda University. At Top Flight, Tak is instrumental in advising the Company with customer and business partnerships throughout Asia. https://www.linkedin.com/in/takmiyata 

Joi Ito

Director, MIT Media Lab

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Joichi "Joi" Ito has been recognized for his work as an activist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and advocate of emergent democracy, privacy, and Internet freedom. As director of the MIT Media Lab, he is currently exploring how radical new approaches to science and technology can transform society in substantial and positive ways. Ito has served as both board chair and CEO of Creative Commons, and sits on the boards of Sony Corporation, Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The New York Times Company, and The Mozilla Foundation. In Japan, he is executive researcher of KEIO SFC, and he was a founder of Digital Garage, and helped establish and later became CEO of the country’s first commercial Internet service provider. He was an early investor in numerous companies, including Flickr, Six Apart, Last.fm, littleBits, Formlabs, Kickstarter, and Twitter. https://www.linkedin.com/in/joiito

Dr. Eric Johnson

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Eric Johnson is the Lockheed Martin Associate Professor of Avionics Integration at Georgia Tech. He has led the UAV research at Georgia Tech leading to the creation of some of the most sophisticated autopilot and flight control systems being used in the military with intellectual property owned by the university. Eric is a Co-Founder and Chief Scientist of Top Flight strategic partner Adaptive Flight, Inc. and brings extensive UAV expertise also from Draper Laboratory, NASA Langley Research Center and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. He is an instrument-rated pilot. https://www.linkedin.com/in/eric-johnson

Dr. William Hall

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Advisor (Aerospace/MIT) and Managing Director of the Commercial Applications and Services for Mosaic ATM, a company that conducts ground breaking research in Air Traffic Management. These complex systems drive dynamic decision support systems in airspace configuration. Bill worked for several airlines leading similar decision support tool deployments that improve service/efficiency while saving over $100 million. https://www.linkedin.com/in/wmdhall

Dr. Alexander Slocum

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Advisor (MIT) and the Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. He has 100+ patents and has helped develop 12 products that have received R&D 100 award for “one of the one hundred best new technical products the year”. He has helped start several successful companies and has a passion for working with industry to solve real problems and identify fundamental research topics. https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-slocum

Partnership

Development Partnerships

We partner with innovative industry leaders to support new achievements for business, government, and data-driven organizations. Learn more about how you can apply your expertise to Top Flight’s proven platform.

If you would like to be considered as a Top Flight Solution Partner contact partners@topflighttech.com

Data Wing Global
Close Partner Description Data Wing Global

DataWing is a manned and unmanned (UAS) aircraft service company which leverages expert competencies in aviation, project management, industry compliance, and data analytics. The company is led by Air Force fighter pilots who set the highest of flight safety standards. We collect extremely large amounts of data. Applying powerful analytics, we provide actionable reports for asset health, comparative analysis, and prediction of trends. Our cloud-based platform continuously updates as new data is uploaded. Bottom-line, DataWing is fast and accurate.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Close Partner Description MIT Lincoln Laboratory

MIT Lincoln Labs is a federally funded research and development center that applies advanced technology to problems of national security. Research and development activities focus on long-term technology development as well as rapid system prototyping and demonstration. The Laboratory works with industry to transition new concepts and technology for system development and deployment. 

MIT
Close Partner Description MIT

MIT mission is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.

Georgia Tech Flight Mechanics and Controls
Close Partner Description Georgia Tech Flight Mechanics and Controls

The UAV Research Facility at Georgia Tech does research related to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), aerial robots, and autonomous vehicle systems. Current research and testing topics include vision aided navigation and control; highly capable adaptive control methods; active environmental perception; obstacle avoidance; navigation and estimation theory and sensor fusion.

Ohio State University
Close Partner Description Ohio State University

The Ohio State Center for Aviation Studies incorporates engineering, business, and behavioral philosophies into a multi-disciplinary approach to the many components of the aviation industry, supporting world class flight education programs, academic degree programs, research initiatives, and outreach activities on local, regional, national, and international levels.

VIA Science
Close Partner Description VIA Science

Via Science uses the latest in mathematics and massively parallel computing power to create software models that help clients make predictions, discover cause and effect and determine the optimal set of conditions to shape the future in their favor. 

Careers

We are always searching for innovators in mechanical engineering, machine vision and software development, as well as pilots and pre/post technical sales engineers, to play key roles on our team.

Do you want to …

Be the difference?

Design, test (fly) and build application-specific commercial UAVs – hardware, software, services?

Collaborate with the rest of the team on current and future product lines (including line-of-sight, semi- and fully automatic flight-controlled UAVs)?

Work with partner channels and customers to train, support and scale UAV operations?

Be 100% hands-on in terms of design, testing, flying, training and delivery of solutions?

Be part of a can-do, smart and ambitious team?

Help drive ideas from prototypes to production?

Current Openings

Sr. Mechanical Engineer

Sr. Electrical Engineer

Electrical Engineer

Software Engineer

Controls Engineer

Join our team.

You must be authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis for any employer. Please send your resume to jobs@topflighttech.com. No recruiters please.

Investors

ff Venture Capital Logo
Scrum Ventures Logo
One Asia US Logo
Neoteny Labs Logo

Challenges Solved

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Agriculture Image Agriculture
Inspection/Surviellance Image Inspection/Surviellance

Our Partners