Merlin, the leading developer of safe autonomous flight technology for fixed-wing aircraft, announced the appointment of Travis Mason as the company’s first Chief Policy Officer. Mason will lead Merlin’s team of certification, compliance, and engineering experts charged with certifying the company’s autonomous technology to meet aviation’s rigorous safety, quality, and performance standards. Mason comes to Merlin with over 12 years of leadership experience accelerating the approval and adoption of emerging technologies in heavily regulated industries across the United States, Europe, South America, and Asia.
“Obtaining regulatory approval for our autonomous pilot technology is the critical step to scaling the Merlin Pilot, and Travis brings a unique mix of regulatory, engineering, and business experience to ensure our technology meets the highest safety requirements,” said Matt George, co-founder, and CEO, Merlin. “Travis is a deeply-respected voice in our innovation community and we’re thrilled to have him join our leadership team.
Travis Mason comes to Merlin with extensive technology policy and regulatory experience, having worked with Fortune 100 companies and startups in aviation, healthcare, finance, and sustainable energy. Before joining Merlin, Mason served as the Vice President of Certification and Regulatory Affairs at Airbus, overseeing the company’s efforts to secure certification for new business and investments in advanced air mobility, eVTOLs, uncrewed traffic management, high-altitude platforms, and other emerging technologies. At Alphabet’s Google and X, he helped solve policy and regulatory challenges for uncrewed aircraft, drone delivery, autonomous vehicles, and life science technologies. Most recently, Mason served as a founding operating partner at Seven Seven Six, a software-enabled venture fund where he helped startup founders develop innovative regulatory strategies to scale new businesses in the space tech, prop-tech, food tech, fintech, cleantech, and Web3 industries.
“AI is transforming every aspect of our world, but achieving certification is the ultimate litmus test for companies like Merlin looking to scale this game changing technology in one of the world’s most regulated industries,” said Mason. “Certify the technology and scale, or fail to certify the technology and flounder – it’s that simple. I’m excited to lead Merlin’s diverse regulatory experts and engineers as we certify some of the world’s first autonomous technology safely on the runway, in the flight deck and in the skies.”
Mason also serves on the Boards of Destiny.xyz, Help One Now, and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, the nation’s top ranked program in public policy. In addition to his board positions, Mason advises the founders of startups in heavily regulated markets, such as the founding team of Actual, which was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Inventions of 2022.