The 2016 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems

June 7 - 10, 2016

Key Bridge Marriott

Arlington, VA, USA

ICUAS'16 Program



Keynote Lectures

Scaling Aerodynamic Technologies for Applications to Fixed Wing Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Dr. Gregory S. Jones
Configuration Aerodynamics Branch
NASA Langley Research Center


The size and scale of unmanned aircraft can range from the size of a bumblebee to a Boeing 747. The challenges of scaling technologies for fixed wing aircraft are often related to Mach number and Reynolds number. Technologies that are being developed by NASA are typically targeted on the performance of large-scale aircraft over a large speed range. As part of the development strategy for these aircraft, both CFD and wind tunnel testing are highly recommended. CFD can be used to assess the aerodynamic and structural performance and stability and control characteristics of these vehicles. The benefits of wind tunnel testing not only characterize the performance of a vehicle but also scales components to geometries that are consistent with small scale unmanned air vehicles.

Advances in rapid prototyping have created new paradigms for small-scale fabrication and have enabled designers to build lightweight small-scale vehicles. The low cost and rapid turnaround to build a prototype vehicle often bypasses the performance optimization step in the design process. The trade-offs and optimization of strength and shape to aerodynamic loading can be predicted with CFD and advanced design tools. This presentation will highlight CFD validation efforts and performance benefits for state of the art active flow control systems and propulsion airframe integration systems with potential applications to fixed wing Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Short Bio:

Dr. Gregory S. Jones has worked in flow physics and fundamental aerodynamics since 1975. During this time he worked in academia, industry, and government labs. Greg began his career at NASA Langley in 1985 and has had the opportunity to work in many different aerodynamic areas that include high Reynolds number aerodynamics, active flow control, wind tunnel flow quality, Personal Air Vehicles (PAVs), and advanced flow diagnostics techniques. He is a subject matter expert in active blowing systems that focus on powered lift and transonic circulation control performance. He is currently working with NASA CFD groups to advance code development based on complex physics associated with propulsion airframe integration and fundamental circulation control physics. He is also working with the Air Force Research Labs and Office of Naval Research to enhance performance of the next generation air and underwater vehicles being developed today.

An Innovative Regulatory Framework for Unmanned Aircraft in Europe

Thomas Mickler
EASA Representative - Washington DC
European Aviation Safety Agency


As unmanned aircraft capabilities evolve rapidly, private and commercial users can't wait to benefit from the enormous potential of this new technology. Expectations in countries around the world are very high, and regulators are called upon to develop regulatory frameworks that will enable the safe integration of unmanned aircraft into their respective National Aviation Systems.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in cooperation with partners in Europe and around the world has been working on a new performance based regulatory framework proportionate to the actual risk allowing to find adequate solutions for different categories of unmanned aircraft and flexible enough to take into account further technological evolution.

This keynote address will present EASA's activities in the field of unmanned aircraft, both in Europe and internationally, will explain the risk based operational concept as a basis for a European regulatory framework, and will give an outlook on further rulemaking and safety promotion activities.

Short Bio: Mr. Thomas Mickler took office as the EASA Representative in Washington, DC, in August 2014. In his previous position as Head of Standardization at the European Aviation Safety Agency, Mr. Mickler worked closely with the European Commission and European States on the correct implementation of European Aviation Safety Regulations to ensure a high and uniform level of aviation safety across Europe. Before joining the EASA team in November 2009, Mr. Mickler served as Director Air Operations, Personnel Licensing, Accident Investigation, and Aviation Safety Programmes at the German Ministry of Transportation, where he was responsible for the governmental oversight of the German Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (LBA) in the fields of Air Operations and Personnel Licensing, as well as the German Accident Investigation Body (BFU). He represented Germany in the European Council Aviation Working Group that dealt with the development or amendment of high level European aviation legislation. As a member of various committees and working groups at the European level he was involved with a number of aviation safety initiatives. From January 1998 to March 2004, Mr. Mickler served as a member of the Air Navigation Commission and Alternate Representative of Germany to the Council of ICAO. In this capacity, he contributed to several strategic aviation safety initiatives, such as the Global Aviation Safety Plan and the Global Air Navigation Plan for CNS/ATM systems, and to several amendments of ICAO Annexes. Prior to his term at ICAO, Mr. Mickler worked for the German LBA as Project Certification Manager of transport category aircraft, both on national and international type certification projects. Mr. Mickler holds a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany and in his spare time used to enjoy parachuting and piloting General Aviation Aircraft.

Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) Used by the U.S. Army

Dr. Stephen Wilkerson
Associate Director for Special Programs
Vehicle Technology Directorate, Army Research Laboratory (ARL)


The United States Army has been utilizing Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) for more than a decade to enhance their capabilities. These assets have primarily been used for Reconnaissance, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RISTA) with some other limited applications. Some vehicles in the U.S. Army inventory include: Tier III MQ-5A/B Hunter and MQ-1C Gray Eagle, Tier II RQ7A/B Shadow, Tier I RQ-11A/B Raven, and smaller systems like the Wasp. In most cases these systems have been in use for more than 10 years and are likely to continue with periodic incremental improvements. However, with technology capabilities of small UAS platforms, new opportunities are emerging that can radically change the topography of UAS usage and threats. Wired Magazine reports that at a recent Homeland Security Conference an exercise was shown that pitted $5,000 worth of drones against a convoy of armored vehicles citing that the drones won.

In this talk we review some UAS in the U.S. Army inventory, their uses and capabilities. Following this we look at the use of low cost drones and forecast what potentially lies ahead. From man portable drones to armed multi-rotor vehicles, the future will likely be full of new and challenging developments. We look at tele-operated, semi-autonomous, and fully autonomous systems and project how they might impact the future. Videos demonstrating some of these capabilities are shown to spark discussion and speculation.

Short Bio:

Dr. Stephen Wilkerson ( received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University in 1990 in Mechanical Engineering. His Thesis and initial work was on underwater explosion bubble dynamics and ship and submarine whipping. After graduation he took a position with the US Army where he has been ever since. For the first decade with the Army he worked on notable programs to include the M829A1 and A2 that were first of a kind composite saboted munition. His travels have taken him to Los Alamos where he worked on modeling the transient dynamic attributes of Kinetic Energy munitions during initial launch. Afterwards he was selected for the exchange scientist program and spent a summer working for DASA Aerospace in Wedel, Germany 1993. His initial research also made a major contribution to the M1A1 barrel reshape initiative that began in 1995. Shortly afterwards he was selected for a 1 year appointment to the United States Military Academy West Point where he taught Mathematics. Following these accomplishments he worked on the SADARM fire and forget projectile that was finally used in the second gulf war. Since that time, circa 2002, his studies have focused on unmanned systems both air and ground. His team deployed a bomb finding robot named the LynchBot to Iraq late in 2004 and then again in 2006 deployed about a dozen more improved LynchBots to Iraq. His team also assisted in the deployment of 84 TACMAV systems in 2005. Around that time he volunteered as a science advisor and worked at the Rapid Equipping Force during the summer of 2005 where he was exposed to a number of unmanned systems technologies. His initial group composed of about 6 S&T grew to nearly 30 between 2003 and 2010 as he transitioned from a Branch head to an acting Division Chief. In 2010-2012 he again was selected to teach Mathematics at the United States Military Academy West Point. Upon returning to ARL's Vehicle Technology Directorate from West Point he has continued his research on unmanned systems under ARL's Campaign for Maneuver as the Associate Director of Special Programs. Throughout his career he has continued to teach at a variety of colleges and universities. For the last 4 years he has been a part time instructor and collaborator with researchers at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (

The Role of Autonomy in Future US Air Force Operations

Dr. Greg L. Zacharias
Chief Scientist of the U.S. Air Force
Washington, D.C.

Short Bio:

Dr. Greg L. Zacharias is the Chief Scientist of the U.S. Air Force Washington, D.C. He serves as the chief scientific adviser to the Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force, and provides assessments on a wide range of scientific and technical issues affecting the Air Force mission. In this role, he identifies and analyzes technical issues and brings them to the attention of Air Force leaders, and interacts with other Air Staff principals, operational commanders, combatant commands, acquisition, and science and technology communities to address cross organizational technical issues and solutions. He also interacts with other services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense on issues affecting the Air Force in house technical enterprise. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. He is the principal science and technology representative of the Air Force to the civilian scientific and engineering community and to the public at large. Dr. Zacharias served on the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board for eight years, contributing to nine summer studies, most recently chairing a study on "Future Operations Concepts for Unmanned Aircraft Systems." He also chaired the Human System Wing Advisory Group, was a member of Air Combat Command's Advisory Group, and served as a technical program reviewer for the Air Force Research Laboratory (in Human Effectiveness and Information Systems). He was a member of the National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Human Factors (now the Committee on Human Systems Integration) for over ten years, supporting a number of NRC studies including one for Defense Modeling and Simulation Office evaluating the state of the art in military human behavior models, and co-chairing a follow up study entitled "Organizational Models: from Individuals to Societies," which presents a roadmap for future DoD science and technology investments in this area. He has served on the DoD Human Systems Technology Area Review and Assessment (TARA) Panel.

Prior to assuming his current position, Dr. Zacharias worked as a Research Engineer at the C.S. Draper Laboratory and a Senior Scientist at Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. before most recently serving as the President and Senior Principal Scientist of Charles River Analytics, a research and development company that he co-founded.