Supernal announced the appointment of Jay Merkle as senior director of regulatory affairs. Merkle previously spent 30 years at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), most recently as executive director of the agency’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Office.
“Uniting top aviation expertise is critical to Supernal’s mission of responsibly shaping and introducing the Advanced Air Mobility ecosystem,” said Jaiwon Shin, president of Hyundai Motor Group and CEO of Supernal. “Jay Merkle has tremendous depth and breadth in the industry, with a track record that emphasizes his bold vision for airspace safety and compliance. His experience – paired with that of fellow FAA veterans, including Mike Whitaker, at Supernal – will help our company integrate AAM into existing transportation networks and airspace over the coming decades.”
At the FAA, Merkle led the safe integration of drones into the National Airspace System and ensured all UAS integration activities and efforts were aligned with the agency’s overarching mission. Similarly in his new role on Supernal’s policy and regulations team, which is led by Diana Cooper, Merkle will help develop an integrated regulatory and policy framework to support AAM operations globally.
“My three decades at the FAA were focused on making our airspace more efficient, adaptable and robust – all of which are qualities that will be even more important with the introduction of a new class of aircraft,” Merkle said. “I look forward to collaborating closely with Supernal’s policy, legal, compliance and engineering teams to provide a total solution for AAM that delivers new levels of mobility while maintaining uncompromising safety standards.”
Jay Merkle received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Central Florida and his master’s degree in industrial engineering and operations research from Virginia Tech.