Basil Yap serves as program manager for the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Division of Aviation’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Program. In this role, he envisions and directs efforts that position North Carolina as a global leader in UAS (drone) safety, government integration, commercial and economic development, and knowledge creation. That includes ensuring North Carolina maintains the safest possible environment for drone operations; maximizes state and local agency use of UAS technology to improve public services and operations; builds a world-leading UAS economy; pursues research and innovations that promote drone safety, government integration and commercial development; and designs and advocates for supportive local, state and federal policies.
Under Mr. Yap’s direction, NCDOT has launched an impressive list of UAS innovation “firsts:”
- Launch of nation’s first routine drone package deliveries for pay.
- Nation’s first and only permitting system for commercial and government drone operators.
- North Carolina’s first coordinated drone response to a disaster.
- North Carolina’s first Drone Summit and Flight Expo convening UAS leaders from business,
- government and academic focused on drone innovation.
- Launch of initiative to develop an unmanned traffic management system for North Carolina.
Mr. Yap serves as a subject matter expert for state transportation and industry organizations, sharing his experiences, best practices and recommendations on developing drone technologies and programs. He serves on and advises national standards-setting committees, including the ANSI Unmanned Aircraft Systems Collaborative, which in 2018 published the comprehensive Standardization Roadmap as a key resource for nationwide drone deployment.
Mr. Yap secured and directs North Carolina’s participation in the Federal Aviation Administration’s three-year UAS Integration Pilot Program as one of only 10 U.S. teams selected. The N.C. pilot is creating viable operational concepts, testing tools and developing infrastructure that enables safe drone use for package delivery, particularly medical package delivery, food package delivery and transportation infrastructure inspection over local communities and beyond line of sight. Mr. Yap interfaces with the
FAA’s program management team, assesses concepts and emerging UAS technologies, fosters technical interchange towards integrated solutions for advanced UAS urban and rural operations, and coordinates broadly across a diverse team of industry technology experts and government officials to achieve operations within North Carolina. This pilot offers the potential for unleashing a new era of drone use for public and private purposes across the state and the nation.
Mr. Yap brings to this work extensive experience in engineering, program and project management, policy development, and research design and analysis. In a previous role as an airport project manager with the Division of Aviation, he worked directly with 17 airports to administer federal and state grants for airport development. This required engaging and working closely with local governments and airport authorities on airport planning and land use, public outreach, project prioritization, construction monitoring and inspection, and assuring grant obligations were met.
Mr. Yap is vice chair of the National Association of State Aviation Officials UAS Committee, a member of the Transportation Research Board’s Standing Committee on Aviation System Planning, FAA’s EDC-5 Innovations UAS working group, and ASTM International’s Committee F38 on Unmanned Aircraft Systems. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from North Carolina State University.