New Jersey Smart Airport and Aviation Partnership Selects First Aviation Accelerator Cohort

The Smart Airport and Aviation Partnership (SAAP), a central player in the emerging Southern New Jersey aviation hub, has selected seven companies to participate in the inaugural cohort of flightPlan, the Aviation Accelerator.

The six-week flightPlan Accelerator program will include personalized mentoring by aviation and business experts, interaction with aviation leaders, and custom courses and workshops that address the challenges of starting, operating and sustaining a company. The Accelerator also will provide participants with funding strategy guidance and opportunities, including pitch development and amplified exposure to the tech investor community.

SAAP was established through a Regional Innovation Strategies Grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to the Atlantic County Economic Alliance (ACEA). It is administered by the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), a renowned aviation leader headquartered in Hampton, Virginia. The purpose of the partnership is to transform Southern New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem by incubating, accelerating and attracting new aviation-related businesses into a high-tech cluster.

At the program’s conclusion, participants will pitch their ventures at a regional “Innovation Forum” at the FAA dedicated to cohort graduates. Graduates also will be eligible to apply for grants for performing FAA-approved research during summer 2020.

The first cohort includes a large complement of companies working with technologies related to Unmanned Aerial Systems (“UAS,” or “drones”). The cohort members, listed in alphabetical order, will be:

AeroDefense – Holmdel, New Jersey

This counter-UAS company has a patented drone detection system that locates drones and pilots through Radio Frequency (RF) signals, alerts appropriate emergency management personnel, and offers flexible deployment options. The company has the unique Department of Homeland Security SAFETY Act Developmental Testing and Evaluation Designation.

Arke Aeronautics – Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Arke Aeronautics has developed a life-saving Situational Intelligence Platform for First Responders that gives quick access to information needed to arrive at an emergency faster, respond more effectively and save lives. The company’s three founders met while students at Rowan University. In their words, they “share a deep passion for improving the world with technology.”

Cellular Tracking Industries– Rio Grande, New Jersey

Though a young company,Cellular Tracking Industries is already a global leader in wildlife telemetry, creating tracking devices with pinpoint GPS accuracy that transmit over the cellular network. Its solar-powered radio tags need no batteries and can be received by a global network through the company’s SensorStation product.

Geomatix– Bordentown, New Jersey

Geomatix offers precision aerial mapping, 3-D modeling and remote sensing solutions for professional surveying, civil engineering, environmental/ecological, real estate and construction sectors.

Hummingbird Release – Cape May, New Jersey

Founded by an aviation innovator, this company delivers aerial release of cremains via specially equipped drones that customize and document the release.

 Reign Maker – New York City, New York

      Reign Maker has enjoyed over 30 contracts globally with government agencies and engineering firms, operating and adapting drones, sensors and robotic devices for engineering, inspection and asset management projects. Its patent-pending filings address AI-hybrid data acquisition methodology and a mission-planning software used for inspecting vertical structures.

SkyScape Industries– Manahawkin, New Jersey

Now an American Aerospace subsidiary, SkyScape Industries is a remote sensing company specializing in using small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) for critical infrastructure applications. Using advanced sensors, aircraft and workflows, the company provides products and services that it hopes will revolutionize safety, effectiveness and visibility in aviation.

Carole Mattessich, SAAP Executive Director remarked, “Each of these applicants show great promise of creating or enhancing aviation-related technologies and applications. FlightPlan will provide more than just a kick-start for those aspirations. We’ll challenge participants to deeply examine areas such as their business model and outreach efforts – perhaps even the possibility of making major business pivots to meet current markets – all with the aim of becoming their best selves.”

Dr. Doug Stanley, President and Executive Director of NIA stated, “I would like to thank the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the leadership of Atlantic and Cape May Counties for making this grant possible. The NIA is looking forward to doing everything in our power to make these companies successful.”

Currently, SAAP plans to hold the flightPlan Accelerator from early May through mid-June. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this time frame could change.

For more information about the Smart Airport and Aviation Partnership (SAAP), visit