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Transformation: Urban Air Mobility Concept of Operations

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Welcome and Opening Remarks 

Anne Aylward
Director, U.S. DOT Volpe Center

Paul Fontaine 
Assistant Administrator for Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), FAA

Featured Speakers

Robert Pearce
Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), NASA 

Steve Bradford
Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor for Architecture and Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) Development, FAA 


Recap and recording available now.


*The views of the speakers may not represent the views of U.S. DOT.

The U.S. DOT Volpe Center and FAA are committed to principles of accessibility and inclusion. If you require reasonable accommodations, please contact collateral duty Disability Program Specialist Stephanie Chase and carbon copy EEO Manager Eliot Sutler on your request.   

About the Speakers

Fontaine headshot

Paul Fontaine

Assistant Administrator for NextGen 

Paul Fontaine is the Assistant Administrator for NextGen at FAA and is responsible for championing the evolution of the National Airspace System (NAS). He provides strategic direction and executive oversight to more than 800 federal employees in the Office of NextGen (ANG) and is responsible for implementing the air transportation system modernization, executing the aviation research portfolio, and delivering results to support the overall advancement of aviation. Fontaine has experience harmonizing the implementation of aviation technologies with stakeholder priorities and ensuring risks are collaboratively addressed to facilitate delivery of Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) capabilities and benefits. 

Previously, he was the director of ANG Portfolio Management & Technology Development. Fontaine led the FAA Enterprise Planning effort in collaboration with aviation stakeholders, identified strategies, developed integrated solutions, coordinated investments to evolve and sustain a world class aviation system, and established NextGen integration goals, strategies, budgets, and priorities.  

He was also responsible for the formulation, management, and coordination of the agency’s research and advanced technology development program in human factors, communications, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management. 

As the former manager of the Safe Flight 21 Program, Fontaine’s work led to the current nationwide deployment of the Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) program.  

He has more than 30 years of FAA and Department of Defense program management experience. Fontaine earned his commission as a Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He holds an MBA in Finance from Marymount University and a Bachelor of Science in Managerial Economics from Rhode Island College. 

Pearce headshotRobert Pearce

Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), NASA 

Robert A. Pearce is the Associate Administrator for NASA ARMD. He manages the agency’s aeronautics research portfolio and guides its strategic direction, including research in advanced air vehicle concepts, airspace operations and safety, integrated aviation systems, and the nurturing and development of transformative concepts for aviation. 

Pearce has experience in all aspects of aviation research and development, including serving as Deputy Director of the FAA-led Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO). He began his career as a design engineer at the Grumman Corporation, working on such projects as the Navy’s F-14 Tomcat fighter and DARPA’s X-29 Forward Swept Wing Demonstrator. 

Pearce earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Syracuse University and a Master of Science in Technology and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Bradford headshotSteve Bradford

Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor for Architecture and Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) Development, FAA  

Steven W. Bradford is FAA’s Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor for Architecture and Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) Development. He is the Chairman of the Technical Review Board, which monitors technical decisions; related investments; and the Enterprise Architecture. Bradford works with elements of FAA to develop midterm plans and five-year budget requests to implement NextGen. He is FAA’s lead for the FAA/NASA Research Transition Team process that supports collaboration between the FAA and NASA on ATM related activities.  

Bradford also has a leading role in NextGen’s International engagement activities with SESAR Joint Undertaking and has led several co-operative international efforts with EUROCONTROL He was a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) technical team that authored the Global Air Navigation Plan, the past U.S. panel member to the ICAO Air Traffic Management Requirements and Performance Panel, and the Chairman of the Global Air Navigation Plan Study Group responsible for managing all updates to that plan.

This series will be moderated by U.S. DOT Volpe Center Director Anne Aylward. 

Aylward headshot

Anne Aylward

Director, U.S. DOT Volpe Center

Anne D. Aylward has served as director of the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in Cambridge, MA since 2016. The U.S. DOT Volpe Center is a unique fee-for-service federal organization that conducts more than $230 million annually in transportation technology and innovation projects. 

As director, she steers the work of more than 580 engineers, scientists, and analysts engaged in a portfolio of projects carried out on behalf of all U.S. DOT modal administrations, numerous other federal agencies such as the Departments of Defense and Interior, state and local governments, as well as international, academic, private, and non-profit organizations facing transportation challenges. 

Prior to serving in this role, Aylward was the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s deputy director for Research and Technology. She has more than 30 years of experience in transportation planning, operations, and program management, and she is a nationally recognized expert in freight and intermodal transportation planning, policy analysis, and operations. 

Aylward began her career in public service with the Massachusetts Port Authority and served for 10 years as director of the Port of Boston. She began her federal career in 2006 as the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s chief of Transportation Planning.