The Federal Aviation Administration has appointed a new executive director of its UAS integration office.
Jay Merkle, current deputy vice president for ATO Program Management, will replace Earl Lawrence who is moving on from the role.
Once in the job, Merkle will be responsible for the coordinating the development of regulations, policies, programs, and procedures to enable the safe integration of UAS into the National Airspace System.
Effective from December 9, Lawrence will become executive director for Aircraft Certification as incumbent Dorenda Baker retires.
Discussing the shake up, the FAA’s Acting Administrator, Dan Elwell, said: “As longstanding FAA advocates for safety, Earl Lawrence and Jay Merkle are the right selections at a critical time for emerging aviation technologies.”
He added: “Their extensive experience will help ensure a safe transition as these new technologies mature and enter our country’s national airspace.”
Merkle will bring more than 25 years of engineering and program management experience to the role after holding previous positions in both the FAA and defence industry.