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3470 Olney – Laytonsville Road, Suite 276, Olney, MD 20832



Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) aircraft are the fastest-growing sectors in aviation.

UAS or “drones,” are being used daily to inspect infrastructure, provide emergency response support, survey agriculture and deliver supplies and to places that are dangerous or hard to access. 

UAM solutions can help lower the millions of hours wasted on congested highways and roads everyday worldwide. Cities are growing rapidly and traffic congestion is increasing at alarming rates. It’s even worse for the biggest cities. By 2030 there will be 40 megacities that cover less than one-tenth of a percentage point of the surface area of the earth yet are home to 60% of the population and 20% of the global GDP. Traffic isn’t an inconvenience. It’s a mobility crisis. 

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) aircraft

UAS and UAM are changing how people and goods get from one site to another. The shift is driven by emerging technology, social trends and the viability of electric and hybrid power plants and other alternative systems in connected and autonomous aircraft.

Making UAS more viable and UAM a reality takes more than just an aircraft. It takes a systems approach to implementing these innovative aircraft platforms into the national airspace system. UAS and UAM need to address certain regulatory and operational requirements including:

  • Air Operator Certification (AOC) under 14 CFR Part 135
  • Communications and Data Security
  • Concept of Operations
  • Detect and Avoid Technology
  • Heliport/Vertiport Qualifications
  • Operational Risk Assessment
  • Safety Management System
  • Type Certification (TC) and Production Certification (PC)
  • UAS/UAM Air Traffic Management (ATM)

JDA has extensive experience with both small and large scale systems integration including certification of pilots, facilities, ATM, operations, maintenance and aircraft.  The most critical item is that safety cannot be compromised for any commercial UAS and UAM operation so “safe but economical” will require a unique approach. Aviation regulatory and safety principles be instilled from the onset, then equivalent but more commercially viable criteria be developed as the system matures and experience grows. 

Part 135 AOC

Any UAS organization that plans to operate beyond visual line of site and/or conduct revenue operations carrying cargo must have an operating certificate under Part 135. UAM operators that carry revenue passengers and /or cargo, whether it is piloted or an autonomous must also have an operating certificate under Part 135. JDA has assisted numerous new applicants obtain their Part 135 operating certificate and are supporting both UAS operators and applicants planning future UAM operations.

Concept of Operations (Con Ops) and Operational Risk Assessment (ORA)

Essential for both UAS and UAM operators as well as the aircrfat manufacturers. JDA has developed Con Ops and supported ORA for both operators and manufacturers.

Vertiports Design and Qualification

Primarily a UAM requirement, certification of Heliports/Vertiports is necessary. Electric battery recharging must be considered at all stations, safety requirements, passenger considerations, lighting and refueling stations for hybrid aircraft are just some key issues that must be addressed. JDA’s rotorcraft and heliport design experts know the requirements and safety considerations from their past FAA careers.

UAS and UAM Type Certification (TC) and Production Certification (PC)

FAA 14 CFR Part 21 and Part 23 or EASA Special Conditions serve as the basis for a UAS and UAM TC. JDA team members are well versed and have vast experience in all aspects of both the TC and PC requirements from their time with the FAA and industry, including the new FAA fast track TC process for UAS and the regulatory performance requirements for a UAM TC. Detect and Avoid and other systems unique to UAS and UAM are part of the TC. Production certification is a critical consideration for the design holder. Production may be licensed to a third-party certificated Production Approval Holder (PAH) or the Type Certificate (TC) holder may be the PAH. 

Communications and Data Security

More the ever communications and data security for UAS and UAM is a very serious and critical requirement that must be addressed. A combination of 5G LTE networks and data encryption technology that “hides” data transmissions and disguises the signal and making it un-hackable is an essential part of the system requirements. JDA has the technology partner to provide the perfect security for your digital communication requirements.

Safety Management System (SMS)

SMS should be implemented at the onset of your UAS or UAM program to ensure continuous hazard identification, risk analysis and mitigation of hazards. The SMS should address the entire program and all stakeholders. JDA is a qualified SMS training and implementation organization and can assist with developing and implementing your SMS.


Another critical system component with technical requirements, operating protocols, and supporting infrastructure and technologies required for an effective system of traffic management. Issues like, community and zoning assimilation, noise, altitude and airspace integration, infrastructure, flight procedures and cyber security all need to be addressed as part of the System JDA experts in flight procedures, Air Traffic Control and ATM can address the full spectrum of operating and managing UAS/UAM air traffic requirements.