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Jim Williams, Former Manager of the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Integration Office, Joins Dentons’ Premiere Aviation Team

James “Jim” H. Williams has joined Dentons as a Principal in the Firm’s Public Policy and Regulation Practice. Mr. Williams brings to Dentons more than 25 years of experience in the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”), where he most recently served as the Manager of the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) Integration Office. Mr. Williams was instrumental in expanding unmanned military and commercial aircraft access to US airspace and served as the FAA’s spokesperson on all UAS-related issues.

During his distinguished career at the FAA, Mr. Williams led the agency’s lifecycle management of all FAA communications systems, oversaw the implementation of the Safety Management System, and managed the team that developed, procured, and installed air/ground communications systems. Before moving to the FAA, Mr. Williams began his career at NASA’s Johnson Space Center after earning his BA in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The addition of Mr. Williams bolsters Dentons’ highly-regarded aviation and transportation practice as it expands capabilities in the US to serve global aviation and aerospace clients. Under the leadership of Partner Mark A. Dombroff, the aviation and transportation practice advises clients in litigation, regulatory, administrative and enforcement matters, security, employee-related issues, National Transportation Safety Board investigation, as well as emergency preparedness and response.

For more information on Mr. Williams and Dentons Aviation team, please see the Firm’s July 27 Press Release. On August 20, Dentons will host A conversation with Jim Williams, a webinar. Media are invited to attend and should contact Lisa Sachdev for more details.

Jim Williams, Former Manager of the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Integration Office, Joins Dentons’ Premiere Aviation Team

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Symposium

Join us on June 11, 2015 at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Conference Center for a Symposium titled, “So You Want to Be in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Business: One Year Later.” The Symposium, which will build upon last year’s event, will feature experts from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the NTSB, the UAS industry, and the legal profession discussing the ins, outs, and updates to the rapidly changing UAS environment. Speakers will touch upon a variety of UAS-related topics, including but not limited to: FAA’s proposed regulations and projects covering UAS; privacy issues; ways to limit liability; and how to obtain authorization for UAS operations. We hope to see you there.

 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Symposium

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Practice Group

Webinar

Section 333 Approvals:

Preparing, Filing and Obtaining Them

September 8, 2014

1:00 – 3:00 pm EDT

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently scheduled to issue its small UAS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the fall of this year. This will mark the beginning of a formal rulemaking process that will last one to two years. In the meantime, the FAA has announced that it will accept applications under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 to permit certain commercial UAS operations prior to the completion of the formal rulemaking process.

If you are interested in manufacturing, operating or using UASs in a commercial or business setting, this webinar will show you how.

The Webinar will address:

  • an overview of current “do’s” and “don’ts” of the UAS world
  • operating in the National Airspace System (NAS)
  • the role of the FAA and the current regulatory environment
  • Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012
  • the exemption process under the Federal Aviation Regulation (FARs)
  • how to prepare and file requests for approval under Section 333 and exemptions to the FARs
  • what your application should contain and what it must contain
  • Freedom of Information Act issues with your filing
  • working with the UAS manufacturer

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Practice Group

FAA and DOD Release Key Documents for Contractors Developing Unmanned Systems

Two of the largest agencies in the Federal Government released documents over the holidays announcing increased opportunities for contractors in the aerospace and technology industries.  The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) announcement provides diverse geographic opportunities, while the Department of Defense (DOD) Roadmap outlines opportunities for a broad scope of contractors.

The FAA announced on December 30, 2013, the selection of the six public entities that will develop unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research and test sites around the country.  These congressionally-mandated test sites will conduct critical research into the certification and operational requirements necessary to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace over the next several years.  After a rigorous 10-month selection process, the FAA awarded test sites to  the University of Alaska, the State of Nevada, New York’s Griffiss International Airport, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VA Tech).

Each of these entities submitted proposals focused on different aspects of UAS testing.  For example, the University of Alaska proposed to develop UAS safety standards based on a diverse set of test site range locations in seven climatic zones, including test site range locations in Hawaii and Oregon.  Nevada’s proposal included a concentrated look at how air traffic control procedures will evolve with the introduction of UAS into the civil environment.  Virginia Tech plans to conduct UAS failure mode testing and identify and evaluate operational and technical risks areas, with test site ranges located in both Virginia and New Jersey.  Contractors will have the opportunity to work with each of these entities to achieve their research objectives.

The DOD late last month also released its roadmap for unmanned vehicles, entitled “Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap FY2013-2038.”  This road map establishes DOD’s technological vision for the next 25 years and outlines the actions and technologies for DOD and industry to pursue to intelligently and affordably align with DOD’s vision for further integration of unmanned systems into the nation’s warfighting plans.   Unmanned aerial vehicles have received the most press, but unmanned underwater vehicles and ground vehicles also provide warfighters with enhanced capabilities. The DOD Roadmap explains in detail the technologies needed to further develop these unmanned systems, including:  interoperability and modularity; communication systems, spectrum, and resilience; security (research and intelligence/technology protection (RITP)); persistent resilience; autonomy and cognitive behavior; and weaponry.

FAA and DOD Release Key Documents for Contractors Developing Unmanned Systems

New Opportunities for Contractors as FAA Releases Roadmap Integrating UAV’s in Domestic Airspace

Government contractors in the Aerospace and Defense sector are poised to see new opportunities for domestic growth as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released its first annual Roadmap outlining efforts needed to safely integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the nation’s airspace late last week.  Should the FAA stay on schedule, drones are likely to start flying regularly in the US by late 2015, and the FAA predicts as many as 7,500 commercial drones flying in domestic airspace within the next five years, and as many as 30,000 non-military UAS’s are expected to be in the sky by the middle of the next decade.  Some analysts predict this industry could generate as many as 70-100,000 new jobs within the next five to ten years.

This Roadmap is required by the FAA Modernization Reform Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-95) and outlines the FAA’s approach to ensuring that widespread UAS use is safe and efficiently integrated into the national airspace.  The Roadmap plans to accommodate UAS flights in domestic airspace in the near-term, i.e. the next 5 years, and the midterm plan is to fully integrate UAS flights within the  next 5-10 years.  The FAA proposes many civil and commercial applications of UAS including:  Security awareness; Disaster response, including search and support to rescuers; Communications and broadcast, including news/sporting event coverage; Cargo transport; Spectral and thermal analysis; Critical infrastructure monitoring, including power facilities, ports, and pipelines; commercial photography, aerial mapping and charting, and advertising.

Beyond the proposed civil applications for UAS, government contractors will see new opportunities in areas as varied as:  automated sense and avoid systems; command and control systems, including new spectrum and radio frequency requirements for both line-of-site and beyond-line-of-site flight; and UAS training and licensing requirements for both pilots and ground crew, including the need for ground based simulators.  But even design and build contractors could see new opportunities as the Roadmap details the needs to integrate UAS into airport flight patterns.  This very complicated issue could easily require the development of special UAS airports, or off-airport locations where UAS can easily launch and recover.

In addition to the FAA’s Roadmap, as required in the 2012 FAA Reauthorization, the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) has developed a comprehensive plan to safely accelerate the integration of civil UAS into the national airspace system. That plan details a multi-agency approach to safe and timely UAS integration and coordination with the NextGen shift to satellite-based technologies and new procedures.

New Opportunities for Contractors as FAA Releases Roadmap Integrating UAV’s in Domestic Airspace