Dan Hesselius has been the Director of Flight Operations since 2016. He is a native of Boulder and has been flying radio control aircraft (drones) since he was 8 years old, winning 5 US national championships. He is an Airline Transport Pilot, Certified Flight Instructor, and former Air Force pilot with experience in flight test and has served in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanastan. He has also worked with the NTSB on numerous accident investigations. Dan enjoys teaching new UAS pilots the many ways drones can open up new possibilities in their studies, research, and work here at CU Boulder.

Chase Rupprecht was brought on the team in the spring of 2022. He is a recent graduate from the Aerospace Engineering program and is currently enrolled in the master's degree program at CU Boulder. Chase has always been a tinkerer, and pursues many personal projects. Has has a passion for designing and testing experimental quadcopters. He hopes to continue to dive into engineering autonomous systems and maybe one day get his private pilot's license. Chase is a Certified Flight Instructor and examiner. 

Alex Rudick began his journey with Flight Operations in the spring of 2024. He is a sophomore Aerospace Engineer expected to graduate in May of 2027. Alex is adventurous and loves to spend time outside skiing, swimming, and of course, flying UAS. Alex aspires to start his own business and/or become a test pilot. Whether capturing breathtaking aerial footage or delving into cutting-edge research, Alex believes UAS have the potential to change the world!

Research Support

The Division of Public Safety's Flight Operations department plays a critical UAS support role in many important research projects conducted by CU Boulder scientists. Read more about recent support missions.

Navigating the New Arctic project support 

Previous Big Trail Lake research support