The program for the 2022 FAA Drone Symposium features a variety of sessions that will bring you direct insights from FAA leadership, collaborative discussions on the state of enabling technologies and future regulations, and a look at how far this incredible community has come towards the safe integration of drones into the National Airspace System!

The symposium will take place on Thursday, April 28 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida in room S320.

Session times and topics are subject to change.

10:30 AM | Opening Remarks & Keynote

As we come together, in person, for the first time in almost three years, Chris Rocheleau — the FAA’s Acting Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety — will offer a reflection on some of the progress we’ve made since then toward drone integration. But what is that progress adding up to? Be sure to listen as Chris gives us a glimpse into the future of drones.


  • Christopher J. Rocheleau, Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety (Acting), Federal Aviation Administration

10:50 AM | Going Global: Take Your Drone Operations Around the World

The regulatory landscape of UAS traffic management in many countries supports a variety of drone operations with safety and security risk mitigations to manage operational risks. Operations across borders require a new collaborative approach. Panelists will discuss how regulators and industry are partnering to address common safety and security challenges anywhere and everywhere.


  • Moderator: John Scull Walker, Senior Partner, The Padina Group
  • Leslie Cary, Chief, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), International Civil Aviation Organization
  • Ludovic Aron, Representative to the United States of America, European Union Aviation Safety Agency
  • John Vernon, Chief Technology Officer, DroneUp
  • Philip M. Kenul, Chair, F38 UAS Committee, ASTM International

11:35 AM | Supply and Demand: Innovation in the Drone Service Supplier Industry

Drone service suppliers help further the advancement of more complex drone operations, here in the U.S. and around the world. Panelists will discuss states taking the lead on infrastructure and debate topics such as how the evolution of industry standards fits into UAS Traffic Management (UTM) and how a harmonized approach could benefit everyone. Whether you’re new to the world of drone service suppliers or a seasoned pro in the drone service supplier universe, this session will offer something for you!


  • Moderator: James H. (Jim) Williams, FAA Regulatory Affairs Director, AURA Network Systems
  • Frank Matus, Director, ATC Digital Aviation Solutions – Americas, Thales
  • Michael Healander, President & CEO, Airspace Link
  • Praveen Raju, UTM Program Manager, Federal Aviation Administration
  • Rachel Jackson, Director of Executive Strategy & Customer Engagement, Raytheon

12:20 PM | Lunch

Programming will adjourn for a lunch and networking break.

1:20 PM | Messages & Learnings from the BVLOS ARC

The Beyond Visual Line of Sight Aviation Rulemaking Committee (BVLOS ARC) was an opportunity for aviation stakeholders to develop suggestions on a regulatory path to routine BVLOS operations. Key figures from the ARC will discuss the background behind the ARC’s recommendation report and its implications moving forward and UAS Integration Office Executive Director Jay Merkle will offer insights.


  • Jay Merkle, Executive Director, UAS Integration Office, Federal Aviation Administration
  • Co-Moderator: Eileen Lockhart, Director of Emerging Markets, Spright/Air Methods
  • Co-Moderator: Sean Cassidy, Director, Safety, Flight Ops and Regulatory Affairs, Amazon Prime Air
  • James H. (Jim) Williams, FAA Regulatory Affairs Director, AURA Network Systems
  • Eric Bergesen, Director of Operations, UPS Flight Forward
  • Jenn Player, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Skydio
  • Lisa Ellman, Partner at Hogan Lovells, Executive Director of Commercial Drone Alliance
  • Margaret Nagle, Head of Policy, Regulatory and Community Affairs, Wing
  • Okeoma Moronu, Head of Aviation Regulatory and Legal Affairs, Zipline
  • Todd Graetz, Director, UAS Program & Machine Vision Systems, BNSF Railway
  • Trevor Woods, Executive Director, Northern Plains UAS Test Site

2:20 PM | Drone Integration: Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Going

Drone integration has accelerated at a rapid pace, largely due to the strong partnerships between FAA; industry; and local, state, and tribal governments. Join FAA and industry representatives as they discuss insights gained from collaboration, recent precedent-setting approvals, and other accomplishments that have enabled more complex operations to take place and helped business to do business.


  • Moderator: Abigail Smith, Deputy Executive Director, UAS Integration Office, Federal Aviation Administration
  • Ashley Ellefson, Chief Operating Officer, The Drone Racing League
  • Danielle Corbett, Manager, Operational Programs, UAS Integration Office, Federal Aviation Administration
  • Michael Robbins, Executive Vice President of Government & Public Affairs, Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International
  • Sabrina Saunders-Hodge, Director, Research, Engineering & Analysis Division, UAS Integration Office, Federal Aviation Administration

3:05 PM | An Airspace Integration Perspective: Challenges and Opportunities

Drones have become a part of the daily operational landscape in the airspace. The FAA is focused on ensuring the continued timely delivery of air traffic services while integrating autonomous operations into the national airspace. Join Tim Arel, Acting Chief Operating Officer of the Air Traffic Organization, as he shares his insights on the challenges and opportunities of integration from an operations perspective.


  • Tim Arel, Acting Chief Operating Officer, Air Traffic Organization, Federal Aviation Administration

3:40 PM | Closing Keynote

Jay Merkle and Abby Smith, Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director, respectively, of FAA’s UAS Integration Office, reflect on the past, present, and future of drone integration. Join them for a discussion about the importance of community outreach, workforce development, and more — as well as the important role industry has to play in all of it.


  • Jay Merkle, Executive Director, UAS Integration Office, Federal Aviation Administration
  • Abigail Smith, Deputy Executive Director, UAS Integration Office, Federal Aviation Administration

4:00 PM | Symposium Concludes