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The Vertical Space

Author: Jim Barry, Peter Shannon & Luka Tomljenovic

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A podcast at the intersection of technology and flight. Here we discuss the most important forces shaping the market of advanced air mobility, with a particular focus on why and how they matter to those building a business in this very exciting and growing industry. 
66 Episodes
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In this episode you'll hear from Scott Drennan, an accomplished aerospace innovator and executive. We discuss the DC-3 and Model T "moments" for advanced air mobility, the challenges and opportunities for the industry to manufacture at automotive speed, best practices for leveraging advanced manufacturing and digital engineering, and much more. As we always do in this podcast, you'll hear Scott's advice to entrepreneurs looking to start a business in this new chapter of aviation.
The conversation that follows is with Justin Steinke, Senior Vice President of Commercial Business at Spright. As a senior executive of one of the more sophisticated drone operators in the market, Justin knows the drone industry inside and out. He is just as comfortable discussing macro industry trends as he is getting into the weeds of enabling technologies. Needless to say, we did both. We start with a long discussion on the state of the commercial drone market: the remaining unaddress...
Today’s discussion is with Mykel Kochenderfer, Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University. He is the director of the Stanford Intelligent Systems Laboratory (SISL), conducting research on advanced algorithms and analytical methods for the design of robust decision making systems.When one of our previous guests recommended we speak with Mykel, he said that Mykel led the ACAS-X effort (a very successful and recent airborne collision avoidance system for our liste...
In this episode, we have the great pleasure of talking to Dennis Muilenburg. Dennis needs no introduction, but let’s highlight a few of his accomplishments – before his current role as CEO and Chairman of the Board of New Vista Acquisition Corporation, a Special Purpose Acquisition Company – or SPAC – Dennis was CEO and Chairman of the board of Directors at The Boeing Company, where he started as an engineering intern in 1985.In his close to 40 years of experience in aerospace and defens...
In this episode we speak with Lorenzo Murzilli, CEO of Murzilli Consulting. We discuss the state of the drone market in Europe, including the rate of commercial drone adoption, differences between EU and US, remaining gaps, and EASA regulations. Listen to Lorenzo’s continuous emphasis on and importance of being aware of the hurdles in starting and running a drone business - and to embrace and not avoid these hurdles! To that end, you’ll really enjoy our start-up ca...
In this episode we’re speaking with Jim O’Sullivan, VP Regulatory Strategy and Special Projects at Matternet. In case you missed it, Matternet became the first commercial delivery drone manufacturer to receive type certification from the FAA in September 2022. This is an important industry milestone because, according to the FAA, operators that want to provide a regular commercial delivery service beyond visual line of sight need to run their operations under a Part 135 air carrier opera...
Today we welcome Christian Ramsey and Ryan Braun from uAvionix to discuss next-generation avionics. Ryan and Christian lead a successful company with real products for clear industry use-cases – in this case with size, weight, and power-optimized avionics – while straddling both the manned and unmanned markets. Listen to their conversation on the benefits of being in both markets. This is so important as we hear from so many who have yet to build their capabilities, are hoping for a vari...
Today we're talking about global navigation satellite systems - or GNSS - and in particular, their vulnerabilities to jamming and spoofing. Joining us in the conversation is Omer Sharar, CEO of infiniDome, a GPS security company based in Israel. As a society, we have come to rely on GPS for countless things we do every day - to determine a position, navigate, track our packages, use maps, and to determine precise and accurate timing. At the same time, we have come to accept it as almost ...
In this episode we talk to Lisa Ellman, Executive Director of the Commercial Drone Alliance and Partner at Hogan Lovells. Our discussion focuses on the regulatory and policy aspects of Advanced Air Mobility, and in particular the commercial drone industry. Among other things, Lisa shares her thoughts and insights on Remote ID, operations over people, BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) ARC (Aviation Rulemaking Committee) recommendations and how/when the FAA might implement them in...
James Poss is a retired United States Air Force Major General and now Founder and Chief Executive of ISR Ideas, an intelligence and unmanned aircraft systems consulting firm. His distinguished 30-year Air Force career in military intelligence included combat experience in four wars. Before transitioning out of the military General Poss was the Air Force’s senior career intelligence officer. In this episode you’ll hear General Poss talk about the military cultural imperatives that drove t...
We sat down with Rex Alexander - one of the preeminent global leaders on the topic of vertical flight infrastructure - and uncovered an entire pandora’s box of important infrastructure issues including the catch 22 involving eVTOL performance, passenger tolerance for ride quality, and business models. Rex takes the time to explain in painful detail all the different regulatory layers that impact heliports and vertiports: from federal down to local, and how they influence timelines and locatio...
#14 Chris Hewlett: UTM

#14 Chris Hewlett: UTM

2022-05-0957:43

Today we’re taking a look into the future of air traffic management with Chris Hewlett, a retired naval aviator with 30 years of experience in aviation operations, safety, modernization, and optimization of next generation aviation systems. In the conversation that follows, Chris offers thought provoking insights on how we as an industry should be thinking about the management of a truly integrated airspace system that’s agnostic to the type of user, be it small drones, general aviation, comm...
#11 Bobby Healy, Manna

#11 Bobby Healy, Manna

2022-03-2801:04:09

Bobby is a proven and remarkable entrepreneur and industry innovator. He has started and sold successful companies and is now pioneering service delivery with his start up, ‘Manna’ - a Drone Delivery as a Service business. Listen to what makes Bobby special, how Manna delivers value today, their tech stack, their essential value and competitive advantages, his comments on certification, and how they plan to scale. Additionally, listen to qualities he looks for in his new hires, the advice he ...
In this episode we talk to Pasha Saleh, Head of Corporate Development at Alaska Airlines. Pasha is one of those industry leaders with a rare combination of experience in startups, large aerospace corporations, and management consulting – and on top of that he’s an airline pilot who still flies 737s at Alaska. This diverse background makes for an interesting perspective on the future of aviation – one that recognizes current times as the new golden age of aviation, but also tempered with a sen...
Our guest is Peter Cerda – IATA’s Regional VP of the Americas. It’s a fun, fast-moving podcast. Peter provides a global perspective on a range of topics, including the role of commercial aviation and how it is recovering today – stronger in some areas more than others. Peter discusses how returning to 2019 performance isn’t good enough as well as commercial aviation’s sustainability goals. He provides his perspective on AAM – it’s challenges, and the value it may provide to the world’s travel...
Another stimulating podcast! In this episode, we interview Chris Anderson, the COO and Chief Product Officer of Kittyhawk. Foundational to this podcast is the importance Kittyhawk is placing on autonomy and an affordable aircraft. Listen to why Chris and Kittyhawk are so confident about autonomy. Also listen to our discussion on performance-based certification…about operating at automotive scale…which is critical for the affordable vehicle. Chris has a fresh perspective on infrastructure and ...
David Grizzle simply makes you think; he challenges how we’re thinking today around transportation – and has a vision for how our transportation will change and adapt. Listen to his thoughts and comments from his background as an airline executive, as a leader in Afghanistan in the early years as transportation was being established, and as the Chief Operating Officer of the FAA to realize that he speaks from experience. David has a refreshing perspective on how the change will occur – and th...
You’ll want to take notes on this podcast! It’s a great pleasure to have Brendan Groves on our show. You advanced mobility entrepreneurs will enjoy Brendan’s talk, generated from his unique background, education, and industry experience. Listen to his perspective on a number of AAM subjects, including policy – and address why bold policy and policy goals are important. Brendan provides unique perspectives on autonomy, the importance of the tight integration of software and hardware, of artifi...
In this episode we talk to Brandon Suarez from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems about autonomy, certification, technology, standards, integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system and a lot more. You’ll hear Brandon discuss how the internet approach to product development does not necessarily work in aviation, how autonomy will likely be rolled out in terms of missions sets and types of aircraft, and how important it is for new entrants into the world of air mobility ...
Few have Mike Whitaker’s background and senior executive experience in both aviation and in automotive air mobility. Mike speaks with authority and experience as the former Deputy Administrator and Chief NextGen Officer of the FAA, Group CEO of India’s largest travel conglomerate, a senior executive at United Airlines, and now a senior executive at Supernal, Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility subsidiary. Mike discusses the transition from today’s air transportation system – with its remarkable safe...
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