Future of Airspace Open to Everyone

Rotor Safety Challenge (RSC)
UAS, Safety Operations, Pilot
Instructor: Erin Roesler and Chris Theisen, Northern Plains UAS Test Site; Frank Matus, Americas Thales

The current implementation of new aviation technology brings opportunity to integrate crewed and uncrewed aircraft within the same airspace and even at the same airports. The state of North Dakota is embracing the advancement of uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) technology and what it can offer the aviation industry more broadly. This session will share insights into the operations of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS), including nearly a decade of UAS integration activities. It will cover the UAS traffic management (UTM) research NPUASTS has conducted and provide an update on the development of North Dakota’s new statewide beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) system, Vantis. It will also discuss current challenges and opportunities that will allow stakeholders to collaborate on the future of UAS integration.

Instructor Bio

Erin Roesler

As director of operations for the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS), Erin Roesler oversees all UAS operations. She develops and synchronizes advanced UAS operations, coordinates regulatory and operational approvals with the FAA and controlling agencies, and supervises, leads, and grows the flight operations team and capabilities. Erin plays an influential role in the operationalization of Vantis, North Dakota’s beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) initiative. Erin participated in the FAA UAS BVLOS Aviation Rulemaking Committee. She holds a commercial pilot certificate, CFII and MEI (multi-engine instructor) certificates, and a remote pilot certificate. She is a former adjunct lecturer for the University of North Dakota Department of Aerospace and developed several UAS training course curriculums. Erin wrote the book on UAS operations—literally.

Chris Theisen

Chris Theisen has been director of research and development for the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) since its designation in December 2013. He graduated from the University of North Dakota (UND) with a BS and an MS in atmospheric sciences and became a full-time research staff member at UND in 2007. Working primarily in UAS research, Chris contributed to North Dakota’s efforts to become one of the now seven FAA-designated UAS test sites. At NPUASTS, he works closely with clients interested in using the test site to help shape research projects and ensures research done at NPUASTS addresses FAA goals and objectives to safely integrate UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS). Chris leads and participates in research efforts regarding detect and avoid (DAA) components, cooperative airspace, UAS support infrastructure, UAS traffic management, counter-UAS, advanced air mobility, and other topics leading to integration of UAS into the NAS.

Frank Matus

Frank Matus, director of ATC digital aviation solutions at American Thales, has more than 20 years of experience establishing strategy and development initiatives for emerging air traffic management concepts and solutions in the global aviation market. Frank leads this emerging part of the Thales Airspace Mobility Solutions business, serving as a system-of-systems integrator combining sensor technology with cloud-native digital tools to modernize and facilitate the integration of uncrewed aircraft systems (UASs) globally.

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