Meet the team behind Volansi’s flying robots. Each week we share stories from the team at Volansi highlighting their journey to joining the team, how they help keep our drones taking off, and some quirky fun along the way.

Dennis-Michael McKaskey

Title at Volansi: Research and Development Flight Integration Manager

Joined the team: 2019

Team member #36

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Tell us a little bit about your background and the work you did before joining the Volansi team?

I worked at GM Cruise and helped validate autonomous vehicles as a safety driver team lead and then later as a lead on the data acquisition team working with engineers to gather the data they needed to improve code for safety and reliability. I received pilot ratings at Chandler Gilbert Community College through their 141 training school and was flight instructing just before Volansi asked me to apply to join the team.

In your own words, what do you do at Volansi?

My team assists flight test engineers with taking research and development projects and flying them to verify that they are a field-ready product. We also fly the newly built aircraft and verify that they perform the way they were designed.

What has been your favorite project so far at Volansi?

Setting up and organizing a flight testing area one hour from San Francisco (commonly referred to as “The Farm”). This site has helped Volansi rapidly prototype and integrate our products.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Anything outdoors, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, flying (drones and manned aircraft).

Who are your heroes in aviation, drone, or logistics history? Why?

Clarence “Kelly” Johnson. The work he and others did at Skunk Works amazes me. My favorite airplane is the SR-71 Blackbird, so it is my goal to see and take a picture in front of every SR-71 and A-12. I’ve gotten pictures in front of about half of them so far.

We are in the dawn of unmanned flight and autonomous mobility. What are the applications that excite you most?

Emergency medical delivery and being able to get supplies to people in need at a faster pace than trucks or manned aircraft is going to save a lot of lives.