Black Peak Engineering successfully completes flight testing of SA-400 Jackal

Fort Collins, CO - October 15, 2014

Black Peak Engineering completed a series of capability demonstrations of the SA-400 Jackal, an optionally piloted helicopter system. The demonstration successfully concluded the flight test program for the SA-400.

The flight demonstration was performed in restricted airspace so that the 1,200-pound helicopter could fly without a safety pilot aboard. The flights included automated landing and takeoff from a moving platform. Other capabilities shown included forward flights at speeds up to 70 mph, sideways flights at speeds up to 35 mph, and distance flights which sent the aircraft on a 20 mile round trip with a maximum straight line distance more than 5 miles away from the ground control station.

The SA-400 is designed to carry a 100-pound payload, and all of the demonstration flights were performed with a payload of 100-pounds installed on the side payload mounts. The payload capacity of the SA-400 makes it a viable platform for precision agriculture and wildfire monitoring applications.

“The tests went exactly as planned”, said Dr. Phillip Jones, one of the 5 founders of the company and in charge of software development and autopilot integration on the SA-400 platform. “We’ve demonstrated all of these capabilities before with our safety pilot onboard, so we were very confident in the system.”

Personnel from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) were present to watch the flights. After the demonstration, NRL took delivery of the first SA-400 Jackal system at their facility in Washington DC. The second system will be delivered before the end of the year.

Founded in 2011, Black Peak Engineering, LLC offers a product family of unmanned helicopter systems that range in size from car-transportable to optionally piloted. The VTOL UAS provides a simple-to-use aerial platform that is suitable for a wide variety of civilian and military applications including search and rescue, agriculture, aerial mapping, and aerial surveys.


Colorado-based Black Peak Engineering Demonstrates Autonomous Takeoff and Landing from a Moving Platform.

Fort Collins, CO - August 22, 2014

Black Peak Engineering raised the bar on unmanned aerial system (UAS) capabilities by demonstrating autonomous takeoff and landing from a moving platform. Black Peak Engineering is one of the first companies in the world to demonstrate autonomous landing of a manned-capable vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft on a moving platform.

The SA-400 Jackal landed smoothly on a 16ft x 20ft trailer being towed along a runway at speeds up to 10 knots. More than 10 landings and takeoffs were performed including straight-line approaches and 45-degree approaches to simulate ship-based operations. This is a significant milestone towards demonstrating the ship-based takeoff and landing capabilities of the optionally piloted helicopter.

“Black Peak landed on a smaller deck and accomplished the entire project at a fraction of the cost of competing systems”, said Colonel Sanford D. “Sandy” Mangold (USAF, Retired).

“Capabilities like this used to be limited to large defense contractors. We’re very proud of what our small team in Colorado has accomplished!” said Steen Mogensen, CEO of Black Peak Engineering.

The safety pilot was on board the aircraft during the flight tests for situational awareness and to ensure compliance with FAA regulations. The SA-400 is capable of flying fully unmanned or as an optionally piloted helicopter.

The SA-400 Jackal is a turbine powered VTOL aircraft designed to carry a 100-pound payload for more than four hours. The first two SA-400 Jackal systems are being delivered to the Naval Research Laboratories, where the vehicles will be used in the development and demonstration of emerging sensor systems.

Mr. Al Cross, Head of the Vehicle Research Section at NRL commented, “This is a major achievement which demonstrates that a small company can push the state-of-the-art in VTOL UAS development on an austere budget. I am very proud of what Black Peak Engineering has accomplished today and look forward to accepting the SA-400 vehicles into the NRL research vehicle inventory.”

Founded in 2011, Black Peak Engineering, LLC offers a product family of unmanned helicopter systems that range in size from car-transportable to optionally piloted. The VTOL UAS provides a simple-to-use aerial platform that is suitable for a wide variety of civilian and military applications including search and rescue, agriculture, aerial mapping, and aerial surveys.


Black Peak Engineering releases a new video demonstrating the SA-400 optinally piloted helicopter.

Fort Collins, CO - May 1, 2014

Black Peak is pleased to release a new video demonstrating some of the capabilities of the SA-400 Jackal.


Black Peak Engineering successfully completes the first flight of the SA-400 optionally piloted helicopter.

Fort Collins, CO – August 6, 2013

Black Peak Engineering completed the first test flights of the production SA-400 Jackal. The first flight comes after extensive flight tests of the prototype helicopter and shortly after receiving a special airworthiness certificate for experimental research and development for the optionally piloted SA-400 helicopter.

The SA-400 Jackal is a turbine powered vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) that can carry a 100 lb payload with an endurance of over 4 hours. It is capable of automatic launch and recovery from a moving ship at sea. The first two production vehicles will be delivered to the Naval Research Laboratory for use in developing and demonstrating emerging sensor systems.

The SA-400, along with its smaller variant the SA-200, will be on display 13-15 Aug 2013 at the AUVSI Convention at the Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC.

Founded in 2011, Black Peak Engineering, LLC offers a product family of unmanned helicopter systems that range in size from car-transportable to optionally piloted helicopters. The VTOL UAS provides a simple to use aerial platform that can perform a wide variety of civilian and military applications including mining, agriculture, and aerial surveys.


Black Peak Engineering receives a special airworthiness certificate for experimental research and development from the FAA for the SA-400 Jackal optionally piloted vehicle (OPV).

Fort Collins, CO - July 19, 2013

Black Peak Engineering announced today that the FAA authorized a special airworthiness certificate for experimental research and development for the optionally piloted SA-400 helicopter. The airworthiness certificate is the final milestone prior to flight demonstrations of the new vehicle.

Black Peak Engineering received the special airworthiness certificate after several years of development of the SA-400. The first two production vehicles will be delivered to the Naval Research Laboratory for use in developing and demonstrating emerging sensor systems.

The SA-400 Jackal is a turbine powered vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) OPV that can carry a 100 lb payload with an endurance of 4 hours. It is capable of automatic launch and recovery from a moving ship at sea.

Founded in 2011, Black Peak Engineering, LLC offers a product family of unmanned helicopter systems that range in size from car-transportable to optionally piloted helicopters. The VTOL UAS provides a simple to use aerial platform that can perform a wide variety of civilian and military applications including mining, agriculture, and aerial surveys.


Black Peak Engineering takes off with a win of a Naval Research Laboratory contract for Unmanned Helicopter Systems to be utilized in development and demonstration of emerging sensor systems

Fort Collins, CO - October 8, 2012

Black Peak Engineering announced today that the Naval Research Laboratory awarded a contract valued at up to $3 million for the delivery of multiple SA-400 Jackal unmanned helicopter systems.

Black Peak Engineering was selected as the supplier for the unmanned helicopter systems after a competitive evaluation of several companies. The contract includes delivery of multiple vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles that are capable of autonomous launch and recovery from a moving ship. The vehicles will be utilized in the development and demonstration of emerging sensor systems.

The SA-400 Jackal is a turbine powered VTOL optionally-piloted vehicle (OPV) that can carry a 100 lb payload for more than 5 hours.

Founded in 2011, Black Peak Engineering, LLC offers a product family of unmanned helicopter systems that range in size from car-transportable to optionally-piloted helicopters. The VTOL UAS provides a simple to use aerial surveillance platform targeted at a wide variety of civilian and military applications including mining, agriculture, and aerial surveys.


Write-up in UAS Vision

Fort Collins, CO - August 16, 2012

Several colleagues pointed out to us that UAS Vision published a post about Black Peak Engineering.
Note: At the time, the company was known as Scion UAS.


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