Annie Cheng is the Lead Systems Engineer for the Air Traffic Management-eXploration (ATM-X) Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Sub-Project at NASA Ames. Urban Air Mobility (UAM) focuses on the future passenger or cargo-carrying air transportation services operated by revolutionary electric take off and land (eVTOL) vehicles within an urban environment. As the Lead Systems Engineer, she is responsible for designing an airspace management system for UAM by adapting and extending the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) architecture that was developed for sUAS. Her role includes collaborating with industry partners through simulations, providing feedback to FAA on early UAM concepts, and working with the UAM community to identify regulatory and operational challenges that need to be overcome in order to achieve initial UAM operations.
Annie brings together a breadth of aviation experience from working in different domains. Prior to joining NASA, Annie worked on multiple projects supporting the FAA NextGen office with their efforts to modernize the air traffic control system. She led and facilitated working groups to develop data standards for a global flight information sharing environment between the FAA and international Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs). She enjoyed working with data and developing software; using big data technologies and flight modeling techniques, she analyzed very large sets of historical flight data to estimate benefits of proposed NextGen concepts. Prior to that, she was a principal airport consultant for LeighFisher, an aviation management firm, where she specialized in airspace and procedure design for 8 years. She was responsible for leading airspace and airfield studies to support long-term master plans at airports in the U.S. and around the world. One of these studies included developing conceptual flight procedures to assess feasibility of a greenfield airport in Bhutan, leading to its construction a few years later.
Annie holds a MS in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University, a MS in Information System Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and a BS in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia. She obtained her FAA private pilot license in 2010 and Part 107 remote pilot license in 2017. Before she caught the aviation bug, she worked at Goldman Sachs as a trading system analyst.
Regardless of where she is, Annie is passionate about bringing new technologies and ideas into aviation, while making it a safer place.
Annie was recently presented with the 2020 NASA Ames Award!