Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Hosts Emerging Aviation Technology Conference

Save the Date

Durant, Okla. - The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) will host the third Emerging Aviation Technology Conference on April 4 and April 5, 2022. The two-day conference will consist of scheduled keynote addresses by Arlando Teller (U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs), Rob Lowe (FAA Regional Administrator for the Southwest Region), Jay Merkle (Executive Director for FAA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office), Dr. Ed Waggoner (NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs), Rob Scholl (CEO of Textron eAviation) and more!

Attendees will learn more about the future of aviation, including the latest developments in drone technology, electric propulsion for aviation, advanced air mobility (AAM) technology, advanced aviation manufacturing and STEM outreach. Attendees will also learn more about how CNO has built a successful emerging aviation program as part of the FAA's UAS BEYOND Program (a follow-on effort to the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program).

The Emerging Aviation Technology Conference is sponsored by Spright, Airspace Link and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce ACES Program.


Choctaw Nation's Emerging Aviation Technology Conference


The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (in collaboration with the North Central Texas Council of Governments and the University of North Texas) is proud to announce the third Regional Emerging Aviation Technology Conference. The conference will feature speakers and presentations addressing the exciting developments in emerging aviation with topics such as: advanced drone technologies, drone delivery, advanced air mobility and other exciting aviation technology topics.

The conference will feature speakers from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Commercial Drone Alliance (CDA), as well as several leaders from the emerging aviation industries.


Monday, April 4 and Tuesday, April 5, 2022


Monday, April 4: 1:00 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday, April 5: 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Arlando Teller, U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Jay Merkle, Executive Director for FAA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office
  • James Grimsley, Executive Director of Advanced Technology Initiatives for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
  • Lisa Ellman, Executive Director of the Commercial Drone Alliance and Partner/Hogan Lovells
  • People interested in learning more about the industry
  • More speakers to be announced soon!

Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant
4216 S. Hwy 69/75
Durant, OK 74701


To register for the conference please visit the event page
Regular conference registration fee: $149.00 per person.
Members of the press are invited to attend free of charge.
To receive a press pass and register for the conference please contact Michelle Weaver at


Michelle Weaver
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma – Division of Commerce

# # #

About the BEYOND Program

A Presidential Memorandum established the UAS IPP on October 25, 2017. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) instituted it as a three-year program to enable state, local, and tribal governments, in collaboration with industry to advance more complex UAS operations in the National Airspace System (NAS). Under the IPP, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) executed Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs) with 10 state, local, and tribal governments to conduct advanced UAS operations to advance safe and secure integration.

The nine IPP lead participants accomplished many achievements under the IPP, and the FAA shared the relevant data and lessons learned with the appropriate policymakers and regulatory teams within the FAA and DOT to inform regulations, policy, and guidance. The FAA concluded the IPP on October 25, 2020, as mandated by statute and decided to continue the partnerships and progress it made under the IPP to continue to address remaining challenges. The BEYOND program started on October 26, 2020, to continue the partnerships with eight of the nine IPP participants.

The program will focus on operating under established rules rather than waivers, collecting data to develop performance-based standards, collecting, and addressing community feedback and understanding the societal and community benefits, and to streamline the approval processes for UAS integration.

About the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Choctaw Nation is the third-largest Indian Nation in the United States with more than 200,000 tribal members and 10,000-plus associates. This ancient people has an oral tradition dating back over 13,000 years. The first tribe over the Trail of Tears, its historic reservation boundaries are in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, covering 10,923 square miles. The Choctaw Nation's vision, "Living out the Chahta Spirit of faith, family and culture," is evident as it continues to focus on providing opportunities for growth and prosperity. For more information about the Choctaw Nation, its culture, heritage and traditions, please go to