Derek has worked at AeroVironment since 1994, starting out in the AeroSciences division, with Paul MacCready sitting within harassing distance down the hall. In 1997 Derek moved to the DDC Simi Valley division and worked on modeling, control system development and flight test and analysis of AV’s large solar powered UAVs (Pathfinder, Centurion, Helios). He has since worked on Global Observer and TERN, in addition to a number of AeroVironment’s smaller UAVs.
He was one of the pilots for the solar planes, including on the 96,863’ record Helios flight at PMRF in Kauai in 2001. He is a tow-pilot and glider pilot, and owns an aggregate total of one aircraft, distributed among a Citabria, a DUO Discus and a Mooney 201.