Jim Williams

Jim-WilliamsJim Williams is the Manager of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Office. This office functions as the single agency focal point for all UAS-related activities and is uniquely positioned to develop and coordinate solutions to UAS challenges across the FAA and with external organizations.

UAS are often described as the most disruptive aviation technology since the invention of the jet engine, and the FAA’s UAS Integration Office has the daunting challenge of accomplishing the safe, efficient, and timely integration of this technology into the National Airspace System (NAS), while balancing the political pressure and economic needs of the nation.

Before taking the helm of the UAS Integration Office in March 2012, Jim spent six years as the Director of Engineering Services in the FAA’s NextGen Organization, where he led the coordination and integration of all systems engineering work needed to move the NAS toward NextGen. This work gave him a deep understanding of how FAA research progresses into a mature concept and eventually into the many technologies that become operational in the NAS. His office also led the development of the NAS Enterprise Architecture and NAS-level Requirements. Together these engendered a great appreciation for the interrelationships of the many systems which will be touched by the UAS integration effort.

During his long career with the FAA, Jim led the organization tasked with lifecycle management of all FAA communications systems and the implementation of the Safety Management System in the Technical Operations Service Unit. He has also worked with the FAA Command Center to transition personnel into the Air Traffic Organization, directed the team that developed, procured, and installed all air/ground communications services for the FAA, and led the team that designed, procured, and fielded the FAA’s prototype Air/Ground Data Link Communications System.  Jim also led the FAA Team that negotiated with other federal agencies to create a second civil GPS frequency.

Prior to 1998, Jim held various FAA positions related to the regulation and certification of avionics systems. During this time, he led the offices responsible for writing standards for all avionics installed in U.S. civil aircraft and the certification standards and guidance for all navigation systems used on U.S. civil aircraft.

Before coming to FAA Headquarters in Washington, DC, Jim worked in the Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office as a systems engineer where his responsibilities focused on approving the avionics installed in the Gulfstream G-IV airplane. He also worked on revisions to the RTCA standards for the development of computer software used in avionics.

Prior to joining the FAA, Jim was a flight test engineer and a production liaison engineer for the Lockheed Georgia Company’s C5, C-141, and C-130 programs. He also worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Mission Control during the initial U.S. Space Shuttle flights.

A native of Tennessee, Jim is a graduate of The Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. He currently lives in Reston, VA, with his wife, son, mother-in-law, and two standard poodles. He enjoys umpiring Little League baseball.


sUAS For SAR workshop


The workshop will be two full intensive hours based on lessons learned and in the field experience with UAS SAR expert Gene Robinson. SAR is not something to take lightly as the consequences can literally be life and death, and if you have ever considered SAR with sUAS, Gene is the expert who can tell you what it take to participate.  He will be covering what it takes to be an efficient and safe part of an organized search drawing on ten years of experience in a multitude of searches around the globe. Learn how you and your UA can be a professional level asset that can produce tangible results.

Prospective attendees should make plans to sign up early as space is limited, and last year’s offering was standing room only!

First to Deploy

The definitive how to manual for effective, efficient and safe application of sUAS for SAR.



Speaker schedule 2014


It’s finally here our second show IRL, and it’s sold out and that’s hardly surprising when you see who is speaking. No other unmanned aircraft show gets you in the same room and speaking face to face to industry leaders in the same manner. Small, but perfectly formed we like to think.

If you missed out on a ticket you can still follow the show live streaming on our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/sUASNews

For those with tickets Registration starts at 8:30 am on the 8th of May @ the Observation Post, 211 Lincoln Blvd 94129 San Francisco .

Lunch will be available for an additional $15/ day. We suggest bringing cash if you want to expedite the lunch ordering process.

May 8th (Day One)

9:00 – 9:10 Welcome and Opening Statements – Patrick Egan, sUAS News

9:10 – 9:30 – Patrick Egan, sUAS News

9:30 – 10:00 UAS Certification – Doug Davis

10:00 -10:30 LiDAR Demo – Wolfgang Juchmann, Velodyne LiDAR

10:30 -11:00 BREAK

11:00 – 11:30 Henri Seydoux –Parrot Drone

11:30 – 12:00 Doug Marshall – NMSU PSL

12:00 – 1:30 LUNCH

1:30 – 2:30 Jim Williams – FAA UASIO

2:30 – 2:50 Harshil Goel – VIRES Aeronautics

2:50 – 3:10 Knut T. Moe – Eye Remote Solutions

3:10 – 3:30 BREAK

3:30 – 3:50 Parimal Kopardekar – NASA

3:50 – 4:10 Rory Paul – Volt Aerial Robotics

4:10 – 4:20 Colin Snow – Survey Report

4:20 – 4:30 Gary Hethcoat – 3D Printed Drone

4:30 – 5:00 Rick Connolly –President RCAPA


Brogdan Radu – Advanced Systems Engineering

Closing Statements – Patrick Egan

Reception sponsored by: Advanced Systems Engineering

May 9th (Day Two)

8:55 – 9:00 Opening statements – Patrick Egan – sUAS News

9:00 to 9:20 Gabe Ladd – Advanced Concepts Consulting

9:20 to 9:50 Todd Jacobs – NOAA

9:50 -10:10 Marko Peljhan – C-Astral

10:00 – 12:00 SAR Workshop – Gene Robinson – RP Search Services (Room B)

10:10 – 10:25 Vikki Stone – Poms & Associates

10:25 – 10:45 Danny Hajicek – Field of View

10:45 to 11:00 BREAK

11:00 – 11:20 Lucas van Oostrum – Aerialtronics

11:20 – 11:40 Joshua France – Riegl U.S.A

11:40 – 1:00 LUNCH

1:00 – 1:20 Chris Anderson – 3D Robotics

1:20 – 1:40 Jonathan Evans – SkyWard

1:40 – 1:55 Maha Calderon – MahaPix Studio/Drone TV

1:55 – 4:00 RC AP Workshop with Gus Calderon – IsisCopter (Room B)

1:55 – 2:15 Rich Kapusta – Alta Devices

2:15 – 2:45 BREAK

2:45 – 3:05 Leslie L. August – ATA Carnets

3:05 – 3:25 Tim Saffold – URS Corporation

3:25 – 3:45 Lorenzo Martelletti – Pix4D

3:45 – 4:05 Jonathan Downey – Airware

4:05 – 4:25 Janis Kuze – SPH Engineering

Open Discussion – Closing statements/Prizes Patrick Egan – sUAS News

(*Times and speakers are subject to change)


Small Unmanned Systems Business Exposition May 8th and 9th, 2014 Schedule of Speakers and Sponsors


Come on out to the Presidio Thursday May 8th and Friday May 9th for the country’s only unmanned systems business symposium. Only commercial and scientific uses and applications for unmanned aircraft systems. Don’t miss this historic opportunity to meet and network with experts and industry leaders. www.susbexpo.com

Lunch will be available for purchase each day at an extra cost of $15


Patrick Egan, sUAS News

Doug Davis, UAS Certification

Henri Seydoux, Parrot

Doug Marshall, NMSU PSL

Rick Connolly, President RCAPA

Jim Williams, FAA UASIO

Harshil Goel, Vires Aeronautics

Knut Moe, Eye Remote Solutions

Parimal Kopardekar, NASA

Rory Paul, Volt Aerial Robotics

Colin Snow, Copter Cam

Gary Hethcoat

Brogdan Radu, Advanced Systems Engineering

Friday –

Gabe Ladd, Advanced Concepts Consulting

Todd Jacobs, NOAA

Marko Pelihan, C-Astral

Gene Robinson, RP Search Services

Vikki Stone, Poms & Associates

Danny Hajicek, Field of View

Lucas van Oostrum, Aerialtronics

Joshua France, Riegl U.S.A.

Chris Anderson 3DRobotics

Jonathan Evens, RTI

Maha Calderon, MahaPix Studios/Drone TV

Gus Calderon, IsisCopter

Rich Kapusta, Alta Devices

Leslie L. August, ATA Carnets

Tim Saffold, URS Corporation

Lorenzo Martelletii, Pix4D

Jonathan Downey, AirWare

Janis Kuze, SPH Engineering

(*Times and days are subject to change!)

2014 SUSB Expo Sponsors (confirmed)

sponsors (1)

- Platinum

C-Astral, Slovenie, www.c-astral.com

Poms Associates, USA, http://www.pomsassoc.com/services/property-casualty/industry-specialty/drones/


RC Tiger Motor, China, www.rctigermotor.com

Alta Devices, USA, www.altadevices.com

3DR, USA, www.3drobotics.com

Aerialtronics, Netherlands, www.aerialtronics.com

Eye Remote Solutions, Switzerland, www.eyeremotesolutions.com


Transport Risk, USA, www.transportrisk.com

Riegl, Autriche, www.riegl.com

Venture -

Drone Deploy www.dronedeploy.com

Rising Tide Innovation, http://www.rti.io

UgCS , Latvia, Lettonie www.ugcs.com

Spiral Moon Media

Monterey Space Port and UAV Flight School


Silicon Valley Robotics www.svrobo.org

Workshops -

Search and Rescue Workshop

IPS Nexgen, USA www.ipsnexgen.com

Remote Control Aerial Photography Workshop

DJI, China www.DJI.com


AtA Carnets, USA, www.atacarnet.com

Velodyne LiDAR, USA, www.velodyelidar.com


VIRES Aeronautics Announces $1M Round of Series AA Funding


Funding Advances Development of Innovative Aircraft Wing Design

Berkeley, California:  – VIRES Aeronautics, developers of a revolutionary airplane wing design, today announced a $1 million Series AA round of financing. The funding will enable VIRES Aeronautics to meet increasing customer demand for extended flight time in the rapidly growing industry for unmanned aerial vehicles. Draper Associates led the round with participation from Lemnos Labs, Vegas Tech Fund, Promus Ventures, Lance White, Don Hutchison, and Toivo Annus.

This is the first true innovation in aviation since the jet engine,” explained Tim Draper, Partner at Draper Associates. VIRES Aeronautics’ novel wings allow aircraft to takeoff and land faster, fly longer, carry more, and consume less fuel. Drones are just brushing the surface, whereas their technology also has the capacity to disrupt a myriad of other markets including, but not limited to, automobiles, submarines, ships, turbines, and trains.

The aerospace industry is a lucrative and promising opportunity that investors are just beginning to explore. The commercial-operated drone market in the United States alone is anticipated to reach $90b in 2015, presenting an unparalleled opportunity for VIRES Aeronautics to penetrate and disrupt a previously stagnant industry.

We look for startups whose technology is game-changing and whose impact is straight forward,“ said Jeremy Conrad, Partner at Lemnos Labs. “VIRES Aeronautics’ unique solution significantly improves the capability of drones to change our lives, and that is just the first of many markets their technology can impact. We’re excited to help them fulfill that vision.”

About VIRES Aeronautics, Inc.

VIRES Aeronautics created a revolutionary wing design for small to mid-sized unmanned aerial vehicles, enabling faster takeoff and landing, increased payload capacity, improved maneuverability, extended range, and reduced fuel consumption. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in San Francisco, CA. For more information, visit: http://www.viresaero.com


Search And Rescue workshop at the SUSB EXPOSITION


A first for the SUSBExpo!

The sUSBExpo will conduct it’s first targeted session for civilian small unmanned aircraft use.  Gene Robinson of RPFlight Systems, Inc, / RPSearch Services will conduct a two hour seminar on the highest public approval rate subject of any small UAS use.  Based upon almost 10 years of utilizing a flying wing to perform Search & Rescue, support Fire and First Responders, the session will cover such topics as aircraft selection – fixed wing or MR?  Cameras to use – is more mega pixels better?  Will different spectrum like near IR, UV be helpful?  Is there specialized software that will help?  What do I need to integrate into a search?  The COA process will also be discussed and just WHO is eligible and what can you do to get yours.   These and other topics will be explored and detailed in one great session.

Gene Robinson is an expert in the application of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Search And Rescue (SAR). He is the author of ”First to Deploy – Unmanned Aircraft for SAR & Law Enforcement”. RPSearch Service UA crews were the first to be featured in a national television criminal justice series – Court TV in 2005. The first to be directly credited with a recovery in the NAS using small UA and one of the first to apply for a successfully receive a COA for a civilian non-federal government agency

Reserve your seat early for this exciting opportunity to learn from an industry expert.

The SUSB Expo SAR Workshop is sponsored by: Information Processing Systems

An information technology leader, IPS provides a diverse portfolio of innovative technologies. IPS – Interoperability and disaster relief communication Solutions



FAA’s James (Jim) Williams To Speak At The Small Unmanned Systems Business Exposition


Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office Manager, Jim Williams will address the business end-user community in San Francisco May 8th, 2014. Unmanned aircraft systems proponents will hear a direct conveyance of the FAA’s responsibilities, and how the public rulemaking process works. This is a rare west coast opportunity to understand what’s involved and where we are in the airspace integration process firsthand.

We look forward to hearing the progress and ideas that the FAA has for the safe integration of sUAS/sRPAS into the National Airspace System (NAS).

Come to the sUSB Expo and be a part of the conversation.



Democratizing the Aerial Perspective


Jonathan Evans


I’ve had my eyes on the sky since I was a young boy. From the earliest moments in life, I wanted to be a pilot. I fulfilled that dream in the US Army, flying UH60 Blackhawk helicopters. After my service, I became an airline transport pilot (ATP) in airplanes, and a certified flight instructor (CFI) in both rotorcraft and airplanes. In my 17 years of flying, I’ve enjoyed awe inspiring views of our world from the aerial perspective. With drones, I see the ability to share that perspective with the world.


What the press and public have been calling a drone is actually a very sophisticated aerial robot operating at the nexus of information networks and the physical world. These robots, deployed as a network of sensors in three-dimensional, geographic space across the entire planet can offer the ability to zoom past Google Earth; to query the physical world in exquisite detail and in near real time. We can also add new depth to the information gathered; identifying and understanding change over layers of precision surveys as a temporal dimension. And this network of aerial sensors is no longer a tool for only centralized institutions; like the Internet it grows from, it’s a tool of the masses that empowers creativity and innovation.


We are just now seeing the “Apple IIe” of the technology deploy across an enthusiastic base of consumer-level early adopters.  Platforms like the DJI Phantom and 3DR Iris are putting aerial sensors in their hands at an approachable cost of under $1,000. And to begin to act truly as a common network of sensors; there are companies like Airware, Drone Deploy, and SkyCatch building architectures that provide the scaffolding on which that network will grow.


Aerial robotics is a rapidly evolving technology. The productivity per cost is increasing at accelerating rates.  Within ten years, aerial robots will be as common to our infrastructure as the smartphone. By then, we should also be seeing what I consider the second wave of the technology; a physical network of aerial robots moving things across the planet. Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos recently laid this out, and in so doing, helped normalize the technology for the public imagination. While getting the pretty things we buy online much faster to our doorstep will certainly be nice, perhaps a more inspired view of moving things across the planet can be seen in Matternet’s elegant vision.

What I see coming next, and what we’re working on at RTI here in Portland under the Silicon Sky, is a set of compliant network standards that harmonize aviation regulations into a digital architecture. We’re working with commercial operators around the world to bake compliance into an elegant, cloud-based workflow system that offers them access to this enormous emerging market for aerial data and imagery. We, too, are building some of the scaffolding on which this network will grow, and hope to usher in an era of Aviation Regulations 2.0. Soon, drones will be able to operate as safely as packets of information on the Internet. And sharing those views I’ve fallen in love with from the flight deck, sharing in the deep knowledge found in the aerial perspective, will empower a new era of understanding for the world we live in.



John Surmont


John’s professional experiences span combat action, military special projects to information technology startups. John has been instrumental in the successful development and integration of some of the earliest technical sensing capabilities to be fielded by the Department of Defense, Special Operations Forces and Naval Special Warfare. These capabilities include remote sensing, unattended ground sensing and GPS tracking systems. John’s accomplishments include successfully integrating and operationally validating technical systems and capabilities and providing the operational expertise to vet complex and emerging technologies for the Department of Defense.

John has successfully held roles as subject matter expert, project manager,
SEAL Instructor, IT Director, and Chief Technology Officer, Chief Designer, Visionary, Founder and Founding CEO. For example, John’s management experience includes holding the role of Director of Information Technology, where he led the design, development, implementation and operational management of the designing and establishing the technical infrastructure for an Internet startup, Audit Integrity. Other examples of the various projects John has led, managed or contributed to are the development of the requirements on behalf of Naval Special Warfare for the AECV SUAV program. John has also worked with Echelon I commands to develop and effective planning for the institutionalization of emerging small unmanned aerial systems technologies. One example is a project John worked on with the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Small Unmanned Aerial Systems Programs, the USSOCOM Special Operations Long Endurance Demonstrator (SLED) Advanced Concepts Technologies Demonstrator, and the Naval Special Warfare Small Unmanned Aerial System Program.

John’s military experiences have included working with engineering teams in concept of operations development, prototype design and operational test & experimentation, initial operator training and evaluation as well as unmanned systems airspace development and management. John continues to be a trusted advisor for Naval Special Warfare and USSOCOM as well as industry on the future direction for products, capabilities, and doctrine for existing and emerging technologies, such as Unmanned Aerial Systems, Remote Sensing Systems, Unattended Ground Sensing Systems, and various other technologies.

Presently, John is the founder & CEO for Sofcoast, Inc a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business that delivers 21st century portable aerial coverage systems for front line users in federal and commercial markets through it’s core product called “Mako”, the world’s first tethered inflatable small unmanned aerial system.

Mr. Surmont has 3 patents pending with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. John holds a B.S. in Information Technology and currently splits his time between his primary residence in Chula Vista, California and Sofcoast’s primary office in Corbin, KY.