Detroit Driven

Detroit Aircraft Corp’s goal is lofty: to revitalize the city’s storied legacy in the aviation industry.

The company’s founder, Jon Rimanelli, borrowed his company’s name from the original Detroit Aircraft Corporation (DAC), which held majority stock in America’s leading aircraft companies almost a century ago.

“Back in the ’20s, Detroit was the center of the universe for aviation. Detroit Aircraft Corporation was the largest aircraft holding company in the world. They owned the biggest brands,” Rimanelli said. “Unfortunately, the Great Depression wiped out the company.”

Now, a perfect storm of market conditions has Rimanelli hopeful that he can resurrect at least a sliver of Detroit’s aviation past by creating next generation aerial systems, often referred to as drones.

Rimanelli founded DAC in 2011, blending his knowledge of aviation, electronics, manufacturing and sales with the goal to design, manufacture and distribute unmanned aircraft for military, civil and commercial markets. Unmanned aircraft have many applications, from search and rescue operations and humanitarian efforts to mapping real estate or monitoring crowds. The Detroit Fire Department, for example, currently uses DAC’s drones to assess fires without endangering lives.

DAC has about a dozen employees, but Rimanelli aims to fly high and believes Detroit is the perfect place to launch not only because of its roots in aviation but because local leaders share his vision.

“From the mayor and city council to the airport director, we have so much support in this city,” he said. “I’ve never been so optimistic about our future.”

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