The Vertical Space

#35 Charlton Evans, End State Solutions: cutting through the fog of drone regulations

February 28, 2023 Episode 35
The Vertical Space
#35 Charlton Evans, End State Solutions: cutting through the fog of drone regulations
Show Notes

Our guest today is Charlton Evans, founder and CEO of End State Solutions, a firm focused on certification and airworthiness for drones and other forms of advanced air mobility. 

Given some of the recent milestones and rumors about drone regulations in the United States, we thought you would appreciate a discussion on the hot topics in FAA drone regulations from a true subject matter expert, whose firm recently helped Matternet receive the industry’s first drone type certification. 

We covered a lot of ground with Charlton, starting with the first unmanned aircraft type certifications in the restricted category in 2013 and ways in which those operations failed to properly address the needs of the oil&gas industry at the time. We then followed regulatory and industry milestones to present day, discovering along the way the remaining challenges and opportunities facing the drone industry.

Charlton assigns responsibility to both the FAA and the industry for the state of commercial drone adoption among enterprises. Since 2013, there have been fewer champions within the FAA doing the heavy lift to tackle advanced air mobility and drive integration of drones into the national airspace system – resulting in a natural bureaucratic filter to innovation at the FAA.  At the same time, the industry is still notorious for not coming to the table with fully developed products and concepts of operations. 

The gap between rigorous safety-centric FAA processes and the spirit of rapid innovation borrowed from the tech world still exists but is definitely closing as both the industry and regulators gain more experience from ongoing projects and initial operations. 

There is a ton of insights from this deep dive with Charlton, but let us highlight a few: you’ll hear what Charlton means by “any change is a change” or “ there is no certification by obvious”, how the FAA needs to get more comfortable with an appropriate assessment of risk, what three things type certification applicants need to bring to the table, how appropriate the durability & reliability type certification process really is, the black hole of 21.17(b) certification, in what ways drones and Light Sport Aircraft are similar, opportunities for innovation, and of course advice for entrepreneurs. 

As mentioned, Charlton Evans is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of End State Solutions, a firm focused on certification and airworthiness for AAM, drone delivery, HAPS and RPAS. Charlton was a Harrier Pilot and Tactical Air Controller in the Marine Corps and still flies for business and pleasure as a commercial pilot. Charlton has led several successful civil and military drone certifications as well as historic BVLOS flight operations. Recently End State Solutions assisted with the FAA type certification of the Matternet M2 delivery drone. Charlton also led historic linear infrastructure and disaster response flights with the type certified ScanEagle UAS that resulted in the induction of ScanEagle N202SE into the Smithsonian Institute in 2016. Today End State Solutions is considered a trusted advisor by both industry and FAA, engaged across the spectrum of Type, Production, Operational approvals as well as regulatory affairs – building relationships that build trust and products that are trusted through certification

We hope you’ll enjoy the conversation as much as we did!