Daniel Preston founded Atair Aerospace, Inc. in 2001 and served as its Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer. A professional inventor who holds more than 120 patents and pending patent applications for a diverse body of inventions, his work includes extensive developments in guidance and sensing technologies, materials science, composite fabric technology, and ram-air inflated wings. These inventions have resulted in contracts with military and government agencies including the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, NASA, and DARPA, SOCOM, NSW, NRL, CIA as well as multiple foreign militaries on products ranging from satellite-guided parachute systems and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the highest aperture antennae in the Air Force’s arsenal.
Prior to Atair, he founded Preston Glass Industries in 1989 which specialized in the development, design and manufacture of high speed automation machinery for specialty glass products, such as light bulbs, ampoules and cathode ray tubes. The business evolved from his receiving an accelerated college education starting at the age of 12, to becoming a qualified master scientific glass blower, plus subsequent education in plasma physics and mechanical engineering. His products and enabling technologies appear in an extensive range of applications from medical treatments to spacecraft.
An experienced parachutist, paraglider and pilot with over 3000 test jumps/flights, Preston has set several world records in aerodynamics relating to parafoils. The Smithsonian Institute selected Preston’s composite parafoil and two wingsuits for display opposite the Wright Brothers’ flyer as part of the Smithsonian’s National Design Museum exhibition “Extreme Textiles: Designing for High Performance.” His work remains in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian and has also appeared in the Metropolitan Museum, Wexner Center for the Arts and Exploratorium.
Daniel Preston is accredited with being the first scientist to successfully deploy a fleet of UAV operating under swarming and flocking algorithms, developed by Dr. Anthony Calise and himself.
Calise, A.J., Preston, D., “Design of a Stability Augmentation System for Airdrop of Autonomous Guided Parafoils,” AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, Keystone, CO, August 2006.
Calise, A. J. , Preston, D., and Ludwig, G., “Modeling for Guidance and Control Design of Autonomous Guided Parafoils,” AIAA 19th AIAA Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Technology Conference, Williamsburg, VA, May 2007.
Calise, A.J., Preston, D., “Approximate Correction of Guidance Commands for Winds, AIAA 21st AIAA Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Technology Conference, Williamsburg, VA, May 2009.
Calise, A.J., Preston, D., “Swarming/Flocking and Collision Avoidance for Mass Airdrop of Autonomous Guided Parafoils,” AIAA J. of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 31. No. 4, July-August 2008, pp 1123-1132.