Braving New England Weather

Thursday, 15 July 2021 at 12:00 pm

Virtual, Virtual


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Join the AUVSI New England members for an in depth discussion on weather impacts on drones and how to mitigate them.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are increasingly being used in New England states in support of public safety operations and infrastructure inspections. The coming years will see more advanced operations with services that include aerial package delivery and passenger transport, connecting urban centers with rural communities. These services will face New England weather – windy fall days, hot summers and snowy winters- and microclimates that change as you travel from the coastal waters to the valleys.

  • Can our existing weather observation infrastructure meet the needs of this new industry?
  • What do we need to do to prepare our region to have weather-safe operations?
  • What will be the role of government agencies vs the role of vertiport operators and vehicle providers to create situational awareness?

Join a panel of local thought leaders from different sectors discussing their unique viewpoints.

Moderator: Apoorva Bajaj, Innovation Manager, Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, University of Massachusetts, Amherst


  • Marilyn Pearson, Senior Regulatory Affairs Specialist, CAE
  • Dr. Timothy Bonin, Technical Staff Member, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
  • Ralph Stoffler, Senior Solutions Architect, Raytheon Company
  • Joseph Dellicarpini, Science & Operations Officer, National Weather Service, Boston/Norton office

 Speaker Bios

Marilyn Pearson is an ATP rated pilot in Single and Multiengine Land and Seaplanes; Commercially rated in Rotorcraft and Gliders with instructor ratings for single, multiengine, land, sea, glider, gyroplane, and instrument with over 40 years of experience as an aviation professional. Marilyn served as a corporate pilot in several jet aircraft types before taking a position as an Aviation Safety Inspector with the FAA. Marilyn worked as a Principal Operations Inspector in the Bradley Flight District Office (CT) for 15 years, providing oversight for all aspects of aviation, including parts 135 and 121 operations as well as serving as a National Resource Inspector in several aircraft and serving as the airshow coordinator. Marilyn transitioned to a staff specialist at FAA Headquarters where she was tasked in unmanned aircraft operations, serving on several rulemaking teams as well as developing guidance and policy for part 107 operations, issuing Advisory Circulars, waivers and exemptions for new entrant operations. She was a co-chair for the FAA Weather Community of Interest and lead for the UAS Special Weather Action Team. Marilyn is retired from the FAA and has taken a position with CAE as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Specialist in AAM/EVTOL where she participates with National Aviation Associations recommending policy for new entrant aircraft, pilot training and simulator certification.

Ralph Stoffler is Senior Solution Architect for Raytheon Intelligence, Information & Services (IIS) based in Dulles, Virginia. Ralph has 40+ years of experience in government weather operations. He has used innovative technologies to improve the end user experience, enhance product accuracy, while driving down overall operating cost. Ralph has experience in military, civil and the international sector. He brings extensive knowledge in communications and cyber security as they are essential to successful weather operations. Mr. Stoffler worked 10 years as a civilian in the DoD joining the Senior Executive Service. He served as the Director of Weather for the Air Force overseeing 4000 personnel, 2.2 Billion dollars in budget, a training school house and a number of acquisition programs. As a Senior Solution Architect, Ralph is part of a team of senior mission solution engineers who work directly with Raytheon’s mission area Capture Managers, Technical Directors, Chief Engineers, and customers to help increase intimacy throughout the customer lifecycle.

Dr. Timothy Bonin received his Ph.D. in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in 2015, and has been a Technical Staff Member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory since 2018. He is a subject matter expert in planetary boundary layer and urban meteorology, as well as various in situ and remote sensing measurement capabilities including instrumented unmanned aerial systems and Doppler wind lidar. His current efforts focus on novel and improved weather sensing capabilities and short term high-resolution forecasts for aviation, including the emerging advanced air mobility field. Previously, he has also developed methodologies for measuring both wind and turbulence with various instruments, which have been used for wind energy and chemical dispersion applications.

Joseph DelliCarpini is the Science & Operations Officer at the Boston/ Norton National Weather Service Forecast Office. He manages the science program for the Boston/Norton NWS Forecast Office which includes research and staff training. He oversees post-event reviews of significant events such as winter storms. He has participated on regional and national teams related to winter weather, aviation forecasting, coastal inundation, and decision support services. Joseph serves as CoCoRaHS State Coordinator for Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, In this role, he manages over 400 volunteer observers who report rainfall, snowfall, snow depth, and snow water equivalent daily. He also provides training and helps create a monthly newsletter to keep the observers informed.

Apoorva Bajaj is Innovation Manager at the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is leading the development of technology to support safe routing of remotely piloted and autonomous aerial vehicles around weather. He managed his team’s participation in the NASA Systems Integration & Operationalization (SIO) program and NASA Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign, both activities focused on the communication of weather risk to unmanned aviation stakeholders. He is a member of various standards groups and professional societies advancing the weather industry. Apoorva’s overall professional focus is on development of new business models for acquisition, deployment and operation of sensor networks for public safety, commerce and defense applications. He has an M.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering and an M.B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


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