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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. 
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 listeners who may not know) and would have a really cool view on practical implementation and validation of autonomy.Mykel talks about building highly robust systems that interact with humans in the real world, he discusses the team behind Airborne Collision Avoidance System X (or ACAS-X), what drove the need for ACAS-X, how it was accomplished, and its terrific results. You will hear about the practical implementation, validation, and implementation of autonomy in aviation and AAM. His discussion around autonomy is important for everyone to hear, and that although elements of autonomy are a long way off in aviation and advanced air mobility , he has confidence that AI and autonomy can be applied to many areas of aviation and advanced air mobility. Also we have a great discussion around simulation, its importance, and the different types of simulation.  
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 defense, Dennis has seen it all: from engineering and program management of advanced civil and future combat systems (including the F-22, Airborne Laser, the Condor reconnaissance aircraft, and High Speed Civil Transport)…to leading the development and implementation of operational and growth initiatives across the Boeing enterprise. Relevant to our discussion today, Dennis led the formation of Boeing Horizon X, an innovation arm focused on startup investments in high growth areas of autonomy, propulsion, cybersecurity, space systems, computing, advanced air mobility, advanced materials, and a few others. Given his deep aerospace roots, his visionary mindset, and the fact that he ran a company that has had a dramatic impact on humanity, we asked Dennis to talk about the aviation industry (including advanced air mobility) from a strategic perspective, and to give the entrepreneurs in our audience a taste of what it’s like to run a global aerospace company. Listen to what Dennis considers the key geostrategic forces acting on aviation, how new technologies could change the distribution of profits along the aviation value chain, the role of autonomy, and how the convergence of mega markets and mega technology trends set the stage for the most innovative decade in the history of aviation. We also discuss the potential for near term use cases in advanced air mobility such as drone delivery to revolutionize logistics and e-commerce. Lastly, Dennis shares invaluable advice to entrepreneurs on how to navigate the aerospace industry and build a culture of courage and humility.
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 case study – where we conduct a deep dive with Lorenzo into building a drone business in Europe - from idea and CONOPS to design verification and operational approvals, and the pitfalls and traps you want to avoid.  
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 operating license…and this in turn requires type certified drones. So, we asked Jim to join us and talk about the drone type certification process: what it looks like, how long it took, all the twists and turns along the way, including the remaining challenge of certifying so called associated elements, meaning all parts of the drone system that do not fly, such as the ground control station and the datalink. We also talk about the commercial drone industry broadly: state of the market today and upcoming milestones. And for those of you thinking about starting a drone business, you’ll want to hear Jim’s advice. 
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 variety of conditions that may or may not occur, with use-cases that have yet to be proven.  The uAvionix approach speaks to the benefits of building capabilities that have a rapid return on investment in today’s market for today’s needs – while creating capabilities in unmanned markets that, yes, exist today, and have the potential to rapidly and expansively grow in size and scope. We talk about the technologies necessary for the integration of UAS into the airspace system: autopilots, command & control radios, high integrity GPS receivers, cloud-based beyond visual line of sight command & control networks, and ADS-B.  You’ll enjoying hearing about what drove the need for ADS-B – why it was so important to our industry and for the foundation of uAvionix, why it is and isn’t a good option for small drones, and yet so important for manned aircraft.  We discuss the AAM supply chain, the role of certified avionics in the unmanned aircraft industry, vertical integration as well as lessons learned in building and selling a profitable and fast-growing avionics company serving both the unmanned and manned markets.  One of the many reasons uAvionix has been successful is that they took an established capability and introduced it to markets with clear use-cases. Listen to how they took their tech to smaller airports, where the airports are sometimes blind when understanding airspace around them…and where a lot happens on ramps and taxiways and where coordination is historically through verbal communication. ADS-B brings the same benefits to an airport that it brings to aircraft…helping to prevent, in this case ground incursions and providing a full range of intelligence, including where aircraft come and where they’re going, as well as providing runway friction information. And rather than building their own business intelligence platforms and selling them throughout this vast market, they partnered with companies that already have their own platforms and broad market acceptance, as represented with the recent market announcement of their recent partnership with PASSUR Aerospace. Finally, listen to the importance of growing a viable, profitable company from the offset – listen to their advice on the importance of running profitable operations from the beginning – which builds a stronger and more attractive opportunity should the time be right to raise funds for more expansive opportunities.  You’ll enjoy listening their to experiences in the early days of their business – echoing what many of our business leaders have said as they started their businesses – and the fundamentals they would pass along to our audience of budding and established business leaders. 
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 a given, and most of us are not necessarily even aware of the vulnerabilities of GPS. That's what this episode is about: we discuss what happens when a GPS signal is jammed, how easy it is to jam a GPS signal, how often it happens, and who cares about it. Omer shines light on the demand signals in the defense and civil markets, where the pain point is most acute, how big of a risk GPS jamming poses to drone operations at scale...and importantly, how to deal with this risk.Omer also talks about how the FAA and EASA think about GPS jamming as a threat to safety, how the industry is solving GPS-denied navigation, and also what kind of GPS jamming is happening in the war in Ukraine.Enjoy the conversation with Omer!
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 into actual rulemaking, privacy concerns, air rights, drone type certification (including associated elements operational approval) and other regulatory factors driving the commercial drone industry. Listen to Lisa’s description of and takeaways from the August 2022 White House AAM summit, and advice to entrepreneurs entering the world of Advanced Air Mobility.
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 the adoption of drones in each of the branches of the US military, a brief history of military use of drones as far back as 80+ years ago, and how the capabilities of today’s UAS systems compared to the drones that General Poss used in the Gulf War and over the Balkans in the 1990s.He shares what drone use cases the military has made tremendous progress on, and also the missions where sadly this is not the case.  We also talked about the use of drones in the war in Ukraine, thoughts on where the military and commercial drone industries might be 5 and 10 years from now, trusted autonomy, military acquisition process, advice to entrepreneurs, and much much more.
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 locations where vertiports are most likely to show up….and in the process we also highlight gaps in existing regulations.We touched on so many other thought provoking topics: vertiport ownership models, how operator business models impact vertiports (or the other way round!), who stands to make the most money on infrastructure, opportunities for entrepreneurs in the number of cottage industries that will emerge on the back of vertiports, factors impacting public acceptance, the wild west of droneports, advice for entrepreneurs…and what vertiport designers can learn from the elevator industry.  Enjoy the conversation with Rex!
#14 Chris Hewlett: UTM

#14 Chris Hewlett: UTM


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, commercial aviation, or military aviation….and how current approaches to UTM are not quite aligned with this end goal. Chris draws parallels to best practices in the military, and talks about the pioneering work being done in North Dakota as part of the Vantis project. Enjoy the conversation with Chris!  
#11 Bobby Healy, Manna

#11 Bobby Healy, Manna


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 gives to those starting a business, and those who he turns to for advice. There are common qualities of great innovators and business pioneers – see if you can identify those qualities in Bobby. Thanks Bobby for being our guest!   
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 sense of realism known only to those that are deep in the aviation trenches. Among other things, we talk about Alaska’s commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040, technologies that will help decarbonize aviation, and the role of Alaska Star Ventures in helping the industry get there. Enjoy the conversation with Pasha!
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 travelers, including providing service to areas not served today, while maintaining today’s high safety standards. For our entrepreneurs – Peter discusses the importance of tech in achieving commercial aviation’s goals, what tech has worked, and what tech is needed for the future. Thanks for joining The Vertical Space, Peter!
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 infrastructure requirements …and where these aircraft may land…with a low-touch model. And for you entrepreneurs…what it will take to use the sky more effectively … and the fresh new opportunities in AAM. We also had to sneak in a few questions from his distinguished past – e.g., as the author of The Long Tail, and from his days at helm of Wired magazine. This is a long interview – but it’s a fun ride. Enjoy.
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 that “muddling through” is the likely way to a different world vs. waiting for perfection, which may never come. 
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 artificial intelligence, as well as the value of AAM with real world applications. He addresses the Blue Drone program, and the exciting and pioneering value Skydio is providing to its customers and to our industry. Thanks for joining us Brendan! 
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 to understand the environment they are stepping into. 
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 safety record, to discussing what is required to transition to advanced air mobility. It’s a fresh perspective with a firm grounding on what will have to happen to get it right, be profitable, and safe.  
Our guest today is Jesse Kallman, an accomplished aviation executive with broad experience in the unmanned aviation industry.  We invited Jesse to speak on the podcast because he’s been a part of the commercial drone industry from its very beginning and he also founded and led a geospatial business within a large aerospace OEM, so for the entrepreneurs in our audience, his perspective and advice is very valuable. Among other things, you’ll hear Jesse talk about the early days at Airware, a pioneering drone software company, including some key takeaways for founders and investors from the company’s eventual collapse. Jesse also talks about the importance of understanding the customer problem and quantifying the value proposition, even for things that are difficult to quantify, like customer service or customer satisfaction. We touched on many other topics, including commercial drone use cases, state of the industry, how to think about crafting a compelling product offering, and also about building autonomous aircraft. 
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