The final day of the Texas Aviation Conference concluded with an urban air mobility presentation, Aviation Division Section Director’s forum and a TxDOT/FAA AIP program and listening session.
Urban Air Mobility, NASA’s Grand Challenge and the Texas Vision
Michael Sanders, Executive Director, Lone Star UAS, and Center of Excellence and Innovation, spoke about NASA’s concept for a possible UAS Traffic Management (UTM) System that would safely manage diverse UAS Operations in the airspace above buildings and below crewed aircraft operations in suburban and urban areas.
“Currently, there is no established infrastructure to enable and safely manage the widespread use of low-altitude airspace and UAS operations, regardless of the type of UAS,” said Sanders. “A UTM system for low-altitude airspace may be needed, perhaps leveraging concepts from the system of roads, lanes, stop signs, rules and lights that govern vehicles on the ground today, whether the vehicles are driven by humans or are automated. NASA is researching prototype technologies for a UTM system that could develop airspace integration requirements for enabling safe, efficient low-altitude operations.”
Aviation Division Section Director’s Forum
New to this year’s conference was the Aviation Division Section Director’s forum. Kari Campbell, Director, Grant Management and Administration; Greg Miller, Director, Planning and Programming; and Eusebio Torres, Director, Engineering Project Management; provided an overview of their respective sections and introduced members of their staff. After their presentation, a brief question and answer session followed.
“This really could have been a much longer session,” said Campbell. “We had some great questions from our audience, and it was good to engage everyone – not only to provide information on topics such as the project planning process, but also take questions on specific sponsor concerns.”
TxDOT/FAA AIP Program and Listening Session
Gary Loftus, Program Manager, Regional Airports Compliance, FAA Southwest Region, presented on common regional airport compliance issues.
“Hangar use infractions are the number one highest reported,” said Loftus. “Sponsors may adopt more restrictive policies however, FAA will generally not call foul if items in hangar do not impede movement of aircraft into/out of hangar and if items in hangar do not impede access to aircraft stored in the hangar.”
Dave Fulton, Director, TxDOT, Aviation Division; Terry Biggio, Regional Administrator, FAA Southwest Region and Ben Guttery, Manager, Texas Airports Development Office, FAA Southwest Region; then led their traditional conference closing listening session.
“This is always a good way to wrap up the conference and address any questions or comments that were not covered in an earlier session,” noted Fulton.