When you hear Lorne Cass detail his long career in aviation, you can imagine him as a movie character saying, “Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in.” This is because Cass has tried to retire three times but continues to return to the arena for the industry he has loved since he was a child watching planes at an airport in West Texas with his dad.
Cass began his aviation career in the Navy and has held many positions after leaving, including working for the FAA as an air traffic controller and in leadership and operations positions with KLM, Northwest Airlines, Delta, and American Airlines, as Vice President of their Integrated Operations Center. He has specialized in the fields of operations control, air traffic management, airport surface operations, airspace access management and NextGen. In 2020, Cass founded a consulting firm, Aero NowGen Solutions LLC, focusing on airline ops control and safe integration of UAS into the NAS. He became involved with RTCA in the late 1990s with the initial ‘Free Flight’ program and moved on to NextGen efforts, including several airspace initiatives.
“From the beginning of my time with RTCA, I saw how important performance standards are as enablers of safe operations in the NAS,” said Cass. “I knew this would be an even bigger consideration as we look toward a safe integration of operating environments for UAS, AAM and eVTOL, all within a finite national airspace system.”
Cass says he admires the strides RTCA has made under Terry McVenes and the RTCA team. He was happy to join the Board of Directors in 2019, under the leadership of Chair Steve Brown. In 2021 with the retirement of Mr. Brown, he was elected Chair.
“As Chair, my vision for the future is focusing on our members’ needs, building on our legacy of collaboration, and focusing on our mission, being vigilant and fixated with safety, which is foundational to all we do. We need to take that proud legacy and apply it to our evolving airspace ecosystem, safely integrating new mobility entrants, including AAM and UAS. We need to be flexible as we look to things like airspace and physical infrastructure requirements. RTCA provides a vital link as consensus builder, pulling thought leaders together, always with an eye on safety and harmonization. We always have focused on our strategic mission, and we’ve always focused on our members. With the strong RTCA leadership team we have, we will continue doing that moving forward.”
Additionally, Cass recognizes and applauds the generosity of members in providing the cadre of volunteers RTCA relies on for Special Committees and sees their expertise as the linchpin to success.
“When you look towards attracting new members, diversity of thought is key to collaboration and harmonization for the future airspace ecosystem,” said Cass. “ RTCA’s mission has long focused on ‘Safer Skies Through Collaboration’ and I want to see that continue.”