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 nation’s best drone safety record; 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 public policies on the local, state and federal level. He also serves as UAS subject matter expert and advisor for North Carolina industries and state government.
Among Mr. Yap’s accomplishments are working with the North Carolina legislature to establish UAS-specific laws addressing safety and privacy, establishing the NCDOT UAS Program Office, creating and managing the N.C. UAS knowledge test and permitting system, proposing and leading the state’s Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP), leading NCDOT’s Hurricane Florence UAS response, and creating and managing the state’s unmanned traffic management (UTM) system.
North Carolina’s participation in the FAA’s three-year UAS IPP focuses on creating viable operational concepts, testing tools and developing infrastructure that enables safe drone use for package delivery, particularly medical package delivery, over local communities and beyond line of sight. As the leader of N.C.’s IPP team, 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 N.C. 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 his UAS 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 a member of the Transportation Research Board’s Standing Committee on Aviation System Planning, FAA’s EDC-5 Innovations UAS working group, National Association of State Aviation Officials UAS Subcommittee 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.