Registration is open for Episode IV of the 2021 FAA UAS Symposium

Episode IV FAA UAS Symposium 2021

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) are cohosting the symposium. The annual event is an opportunity to have your drone questions answered by the FAA, other government agencies and industry leaders, who discuss future technologies and regulations that support the safe integration of drones into the national airspace system.

Episode III launched this year’s event theme, “Above and Beyond,” and focused on international, public safety, recreational, and commercial drone operations, as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Episode IV of the 2021 FAA UAS Symposium

Episode IV will focus on operational advancements, international developments, and Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. Episode IV also will include keynote presentations, expert panels, informational sessions with live Q&A, roundtable discussions, and one-on-one meetings with experts from the FAA UAS Support Center. The full agenda and session descriptions for Episode IV are available on the symposium website.


Episode IV | Tuesday, September 14

10:00am – 10:25am | Keynote: Welcoming Remarks by Jay Merkle and Brian Wynne

Brian and Jay welcome you to the next installment of the FAA UAS Symposium. Join in for a look at what’s happened since Episode III and for a sneak peak of all the good things to look forward to during Episode IV.

•Brian Wynne, President & CEO, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI)
•Jay Merkle, Executive Director, UAS Integration Office, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

10:35am – 11:30am | Exploring UTM: Around the World in 55 Minutes

This 55-minute international panel will highlight UTM system progress around the world and include a discussion on the factors that impact UTM development.

•Moderator: Steve Bradford, Chief Scientist for Architecture and Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) Development Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Ailton José de Oliveira Junior, Coordinator – Drones and New Technologies Group, National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC)
•Ami Weisz, Manager, R&D and Flight Testing Department, Civil Aviation Authority of Israel
•Maria Algar Ruiz, Drones Programme Manager, European Union Aviation Safety Agency

11:05am – 11:30am | Ready, Set, Go! What You Need to Know Before Entering Controlled Airspace

As UAS operations increase in number and scope, improving efficient access to airspace is a priority for the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization. Join the panelists as they discuss the future of UAS operations in controlled airspace and the FAA’s strategy to improve airspace access requests.

•Moderator: Kelsey Sydney, Acting Manager, Safety Engineering Team, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Arjuna “Tuna” Fields, Aviation Technical System Specialist / UAS, Commercial Space, & Contingencies, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Michael Beckles, Manager, ATO UAS Policy Office, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

11:40am – 12:25am | Keynote: BVLOS Today and Tomorrow

Join FAA’s Jay Merkle with co-chairs of the UAS Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) Eileen Lockhart of Xcel Energy and Sean Cassidy of Amazon for an engaging discussion on this groundbreaking committee’s work. Be sure to tune in today for the latest developments on tomorrow’s BVLOS operations.

•Moderator: Jay Merkle, Executive Director, UAS Integration Office, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Eileen Lockhart, UAS Program Manager, Xcel Energy
•Sean Cassidy, Director, Safety, Flight Ops and Regulatory Affairs, Amazon Prime Air

12:40pm – 1:05pm | Tactical BVLOS: Seeing Around the Corner Saves Lives

Most UAS operations can be separated into either Visual Line of Sight or Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS). In this panel, you will learn about Tactical BVLOS, a subset of BVLOS used by law enforcement and first responders that has helped enable operations around the visual line of sight restrictions. Learn from a panel of experts about this enabling tool that helps to safeguard human life during extreme emergencies.

•Moderator: Michael O’Shea, Program Manager/Public Safety Liaison, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Langston Majette, UAS Integration Team Manager, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Rosario “Rose” Lopez, Deputy, Alameda County (CA) Sheriff’s Department

12:40pm – 1:05pm | Flight Data Management: It’s Not Just for Commercial Aircraft Anymore

Typically, Fight Data Monitoring (FDM) uses data to build information that can be useful for many purposes, from improving your flying skills to managing your maintenance practices. This session explores how UAS FDM could be used in support of the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST) and FAA stakeholders.

•Moderator: Kelsey Muka, Operational Safety Investigator, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Alvin Brunner, Aviation Safety Inspector, UAS Integration, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Philip Maloney, UAS Research & Development Project Manager, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

1:15pm – 2:10pm | UTM Integration: Where We Are & Where We’re Headed

The development and maturation of a safe UAS Traffic Management (UTM) ecosystem requires research and collaboration. During this panel, experts will share key research initiatives that explore low-altitude traffic management concepts, highlighting how the results are expected to enable UTM operations and meet projected demand.

•Moderator: Paul Strande, Deputy Director, Research, Engineering, & Analysis Division, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Diana Liang, Enterprise Portfolio Manager, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Ferne Friedman-Berg, Acting Branch Manager, Engineering Analysis and Partnerships Branch, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Robin Garrity, Senior External Affairs Officer, Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Joint Undertaking

1:15 – 2:10 | Getting off the Ground: Operational Considerations

Join a panel of industry forerunners who have successfully deployed UAS operations and want to share insights they have gained through their experiences. This panel creates the opportunity for industry leaders to support the broader community through lessons learned and practical advice.

•Jennifer Audette, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Dallas Brooks, Aviation Regulatory Lead, Wing
•Neta Gliksman, VP Policy and Government Affairs, Percepto
•Michael Healander, Co-Founder & CEO, Airspace Link

2:55pm – 3:50pm | One Step BEYOND

The BEYOND program was launched in October 2020 to tackle some of the remaining challenges of UAS integration through partnerships with eight state, local, and tribal lead participants. With an emphasis on enabling repeatable, scalable, and economically viable beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations, BEYOND focuses on operating under established rules rather than waivers, streamlining the approval processes for UAS integration, collecting and addressing community feedback, and understanding the societal and economic impacts and benefits associated with UAS operations. Join key program players as they discuss the challenges, successes, and opportunities for the program.

•Moderator: Tia Cantrell, Program Manager, BEYOND, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Joel Murdock, Managing Director – Strategic Projects, FedEx Express Air Operations
•Kelsey Sydney, Acting Manager, Safety Engineering Team, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Terry Blue, Vice President of Operations, Memphis International Airport

2:55pm – 3:50pm | Plan for Success: Creating ConOps and Applications for BVLOS Waivers

As we evolve toward the normalization of UAS operations, Part 107 waivers remain a large part of the workload. One reason is that proponents often do not understand what the FAA requires. The session will acquaint participants with the process of creating a successful CONOPS and waiver request. Panel speakers will include members of the Support Center and Complex Waiver team.

•Moderator: Autumn Alderdice, Aviation Safety Inspector, Operations, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Ben Spain, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Manager, North Carolina Department of Transportation
•Daniel Ridgeway, Aviation Safety Inspector, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Kristen Costello, Flight Compliance Director, DroneUp

4:40pm – 5:10pm | Post-Flight Debrief with Brian and Jay

Join Jay and Brian as they review Day 1 highlights.

•Brian Wynne, President & CEO, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI)
•Jay Merkle, Executive Director, UAS Integration Office, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Episode IV | Wednesday, September 15

10:00am – 10:25am | Keynote: Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter in Aviation

Tune in for FAA Deputy Administrator Brad Mims taking on topics that touch every facet of our industry – he’ll discuss how diversity, equity and inclusion are woven into the fabric of FAA and Administration priorities. Look for the discussion to address topics in the news and on the minds of our stakeholders and partners, including: gender neutral language, STEM, and ensuring those in underserved communities are at the table in the aviation industry.

•A. Bradley Mims, Deputy Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

10:35am – 11:30am | Raiders of the BVLOS ARC

Industry leadership from the UAS BVLOS Aviation Rulemaking Committee will host a discussion on the key challenges and pivotal topics that have emerged during their discussions.

•Moderator: Deandra Brooks, Senior Communications Specialist, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Eric Bergesen, Director of Operations, UPS Flight Forward
•Lisa Ellman, Partner at Hogan Lovells, Executive Director of Commercial Drone Alliance
•Okeoma Moronu, Head of Aviation Regulatory and Legal Affairs, Zipline

10:35am – 11:30am | Safety and Security: Working Together to Keep Our Skies Safe

Join the discussion about the FAA’s efforts to expand public education, outreach, and achievements in UAS Security, each of which plays a key role in protecting the National Airspace System. This panel will help you understand the FAA’s role to ensure that UAS operations are safe and secure.

•Moderator: Ryan Berry, UAS Security Division Manager, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Michael O’Shea, Program Manager/Public Safety Liaison, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Scott Harris, Special Agent, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Terri Martin, Air Traffic Security Specialist, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

11:40am – 12:05pm | Keynote: We’re ALL in the Same Sky Together

Warren Randolph, FAA’s Acting Executive Director of Accident Prevention & Investigation, leads a discussion with Pete Dumont, President & CEO of the Air Traffic Control Association, and Elisa Marfise, Project Manager of NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS). They take on the challenging topic of building a safety culture in the unmanned aircraft environment, where pilots of varying skills and experience “share the same sky.” Join the panel as they discuss challenges, opportunities, NASA’s new ASRS for UAS, and more.

•Warren Randolph, Acting Executive Director, Accident Prevention & Investigation, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Elisa Marfise, Program Manager for NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System and Close Call Confidential Reporting System, Booz Allen Hamilton
•Peter F. Dumont, President & CEO, Air Traffic Control Association

12:40pm – 1:05pm | The Collision Avoidance Session: You Don’t Want to Miss It

Collision avoidance remains one of the biggest challenges to safe UAS integration and, in particular, to beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations. Potential solutions may combine technology, procedures, and policy and will require research to explore and validate. This panel will address these challenges and highlight research initiatives directed at unravelling the BVLOS problem set.

•Moderator: Tamisha Thomas, Business and Program Analyst, Strategic Programs, UAS Integration Office, Office of Aviation Safety, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Cathy Cahill, Director, Alaska Center for UAS Integration, University of Alaska Fairbanks
•Kerin Olson, Manager, Research Strategy, Planning, & Communications Branch, UAS Integration Office, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

12:40pm – 1:05pm | Been There, Drone That: What’s NEW for Operational Approvals

The Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) changed the way the FAA approves small UAS airspace authorization requests. Since the initial launch of LAANC in 2017, the FAA has strived to improve LAANC capabilities as well as streamline other operational approvals. This panel will highlight some of these enhancements in process as well as future strategy for FAA UAS improvements.

•Moderator: Wendy Muhammad, UAS Liaison, UAS and Commercial Space Operational Integration, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•John Page, Air Traffic Control Specialist, UAS Policy Team, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Matthew Sanders, Project Lead, UAS Services, ATO Project Management Organization, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

1:15pm – 1:40pm | Superheroes Get Their Props: Drones and Humanitarian Operations

Across the globe, new uses for drones are being imagined which overcome traditional time and distance barriers and allow for more effective responses to natural disasters. Drones are also being used in ways to anticipate certain natural disasters, giving government agencies the tools to minimize the impact on populations. This panel will examine how different countries look at drones for humanitarian operations before and after disasters occur.

•Moderator: Mark Wharry, General Aviation and RPAS Safety and Oversight Manager, United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority
•Denise Soesilo, Co-Founder, Outsight International
•Jeff Immel, Head of US Aviation Regulatory and Legal Affairs, Zipline

1:45pm – 2:10pm | Community Engagement Practices from Around the Globe

We know the public has UAS-related concerns over privacy, security, noise, and other issues. The challenge is for governments and industry to understand the true nature of those concerns, and to determine to what level they need to be mitigated. This panel will reveal how some countries and organizations have engaged with their public, explain what they’ve learned, and indicate possible next steps.

•Moderator: Moderator: Justin Biassou, Community Engagement Officer, Northwest Mountain & Alaskan Regions, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Ryan Coates, Director, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), Transport Canada, Civil Aviation Authority

1:15pm – 2:10pm | The Greener Future of Aviation: Environmental Review and Noise Certification

This session will address environmental requirements and considerations related to UAS, including aircraft noise certification requirements and processes, as well as the requirements for environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act. Panelists will also explore environmental policy considerations for UAS beyond existing noise certification and environmental review requirements, and the path forward on these issues.

•Moderator: Julie Marks, Deputy Director, Office of Environment and Energy, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Bruce DeCleene, Director, Office of Safety Standards, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Chris R. Parker, Manager, Performance and Environment Section, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Margaret Nagle, Head of Policy, Regulatory and Community Affairs, Wing

2:55pm – 3:50pm | We Like LAANC a Lot (Sorry, Not Sorry) – UAS Service Suppliers and Their Lessons Learned

The Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) has continued to evolve since its inception, achieving exemplary collaboration between the FAA and drone industry stakeholders. Join us as experts from the FAA and the LAANC UAS Service Supplier community discuss how these partnerships evolved, lessons learned, and what they see coming on the horizon.

•Moderator: Victoria Gallagher, Operations Research Analyst, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•David Murphy, Lead Product Manager, ANRA Technologies
•Mark DeNicuolo, Vice President (A), Program Management Organization, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
•Michael Healander, President & CEO, Airspace Link

2:55 – 3:50 | Transformers: The Age of Advancement

Technologies and individuals working to enable future mobility are not restricted to a single domain or industry, and there remains a great opportunity to work across traditional units to examine the elements that will transform transportation. This panel will showcase representatives across the community, influencing technological and operational advancements.

•Moderator: Vinn White, Senior Advisor for Innovation, U.S. Department of Transportation
•Frank Matus, Director of ATC Digital Aviation Solutions, Americas, Thales
•Zach Shuman, Program Director, Woolpert

4:40pm – 5:10pm | Post-Flight Debrief with Brian and Jay

Jay and Brian review highlights from Day 2 and share what to expect going forward.

•Brian Wynne, President & CEO, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI)
•Jay Merkle, Executive Director, UAS Integration Office, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

This is the last episode of 2021, register here!




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