New Operating Environment and Flight Rules

Session 1 of the DRONE ENABLE Webinar Series


25 February 2021, 0900 EST (90 minute webinar)



Registration is now closed.  Recording of the webinar can be found here.



IATA has been working with an industry group on developing a concept paper for the future operation of new entrants taking into consideration advancements in technological application and increased reliance on automation (ground and airborne).  With the evolution of automation and machine vision systems, ‘perceiving’ traffic and a remote pilot’s ability to ‘see’ other traffic or obstacles in order to avoid collision will take on a new definition. With that, the role of the human in the loop will evolve into supervising the airspace and managing off-nominal situations. Within this webinar the guest speakers discuss future levels of automation and the requirements for flight rules concepts to ensure safety, scalability, and accessibility in any airspace.




Ruby Sayyed, IATA

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Todd Donavon, Thales Group


Nancy Graham, Graham Aerospace International

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Leslie Cary, ICAO

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Bala Ganesh, UPS


Peter Sachs, FAA




Ruby Sayyed, Head of ATM Advocacy, IATA

Ms. Sayyed started her career in aviation 18 years ago as an aircraft engineer with Royal Jordanian Airlines. She then progressed from engineering to operational, safety, and management positions within the airline industry. She joined the IATA Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional office in 2010 and within her role, she led the implementation of regional initiatives related to safety and flight efficiency. In 2014, she joined the IATA ATM Infrastructure Headquarters team in Montreal as the Head of ATM Advocacy. Within her current role, she drives policy and advocacy efforts with regards to new entrants and technological transformation, operational efficiency and supply chain resilience.


She is designated as the IATA member to the ICAO Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and participated in the Task Force on the Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Humanitarian Aid and Development (TF-UHAD). Ruby is a holder of a B.Sc. Degree in Electrical Engineering.


Mr. Donovan has extensive global air traffic management experience, with more than 25 years of technical and leadership roles in the aviation industry. Currently, he leads the Airspace Mobility Solutions business for the Americas region for Thales – responsible for supporting aviation stakeholders in leveraging technology to deliver safe, secure and reliable airspace operations including incorporation of new entrants, such as UAS, in to the airspace. 


Mr. Donovan serves on the CANSO Strategy and Integration Standing Committee and CANSO UTM Task Force.  He received a BA from Dartmouth College, a BE from Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College and an MBA from Emory University. 


Nancy Graham, President, Graham Aerospace International 

Nancy is the President of Graham Aerospace International, consulting for new aviation and aerospace entrants.  Nancy previously served as the ICAO Director of the Safety and Air Navigation Bureau (2007-2015), and an Executive with the FAA for many years.   


During her tenure at ICAO, Nancy oversaw a complete overhaul of the Global Aviation Plans (Safety and Air Navigation) including the establishment of specific international performance priorities and targets, a first in the United Nations system.  Nancy is a strong believer in government/industry partnerships, sharing common objectives to improve aviation safety and efficiency.


Nancy holds a Masters degree in Technology Management.


Leslie Cary, Chief, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Section, ICAO

Leslie Cary is the Chief of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Section in the Air Navigation Bureau at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Ms. Cary is responsible for managing the work programme and coordinating all developments related to UAS / RPAS within the ICAO framework, including UAS traffic management (UTM).     


Bala Ganesh, Vice President, Engineering, UPS

Mr. Ganesh works in the engineering technology group at UPS. He joined UPS in 2012 as the Program Manager for UPS My Choice. Thereafter he had stints in Global Retail Strategy and the Advanced Analytics & Revenue Management groups.


Prior to joining UPS, he was a consultant with McKinsey & Co.  He has also worked as an Aerospace Engineering researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  Early in his career, Ganesh served as a pilot in the Indian Air Force.


Mr. Ganesh earned a PhD in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Math along with an MBA from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He graduated from the Indian National Defence Academy and Air Force Academy with his undergraduate degree.


Peter Sachs, Program Manger, FAA

Mr. Sachs is a program manager in the Federal Aviation Administration. He is pulling together the policies, standards, new regulations and technical aspects to make UTM a reality. He was a front-line controller in the Chicago area and at SFO Tower, where he lead that facility's STARS radar transition, evaluation of electronic flight strips, and internal quality assurance. Following the deployment of LAANC, he became interested in UTM and made the jump to Airbus UTM for three years, where he worked on UTM architecture and risk assessment services, before rejoining the FAA in 2020.


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