Earl Lawrence


Earl Lawrence

Executive Director, Aircraft Certification Service

Earl Lawrence serves as the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Executive Director of the Aircraft Certification Service (AIR), where he is responsible for type certification, production approval, airworthiness certification, and continued airworthiness of the United States (U.S.) civil aircraft fleet—including commercial and general aviation activities. Mr. Lawrence also oversees a professional workforce of more than 1,300 employees working throughout the U.S. and two international offices in Belgium and Singapore.

Professional Knowledge & Experience

Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Lawrence was the Director of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Office. The UAS Integration office is responsible for the facilitation of all regulations, policies, and procedures required to support the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS integration efforts. The office serves as a central point of contact for the international aviation community on UAS issues. He also represented the FAA on the Senior Steering Group of the UAS Executive Committee (ExCom) focusing on coordination and alignment of efforts among key federal government agencies.

Mr. Lawrence previously served as the Manager of the FAA’s Small Airplane Directorate in Kansas City, Missouri, where he managed airworthiness standards, continued operational safety, policy, and guidance for small aircraft, gliders, light sport aircraft, airships, and balloons. The Directorate also manages the administrative activities involving all aeronautical products within the geographical boundaries encompassing 21 states and international general aviation aircraft projects. In addition, Lawrence was the designated executive focal for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) within the Aircraft Certification Service.

Prior to joining the FAA in 2010, Mr. Lawrence was the vice president of industry and regulatory affairs for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. In that position, he managed EAA’s government affairs offices in Oshkosh and Washington, D.C., as well as EAA aircraft maintenance and flight operations. Prior to joining the EAA staff in March 1994, Mr. Lawrence worked for Rockwell Rocketdyne division in Canoga Park, California, first as a rocket engine mechanic and then as a manufacturing engineer on the International Space Station.

Education, Certifications and Awards

Mr. Lawrence is a graduate of Northrop University in Los Angeles. He has served as a board member of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association and on the ASTM International Board of Directors, and was the founding chairman of the ASTM International Committee F37 on Light Sport Aircraft. In recognition of his standards work for Light Sport Aircraft, Mr. Lawrence received the 2003 Robert J. Painter Memorial Award from the Standards Engineering Society.

A pilot since 1987, Mr. Lawrence holds a commercial multi-engine pilot certificate as well as an airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate with an Inspection Authorization. He currently owns and flies a Piper Twin Comanche.