Less than seven percent of commercial drone pilots are women, and Darcy Rouhani is one of them. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Certified Remote Pilot and aviation industry expert, Rouhani founded a business, RoC Aviation Services, to help other pilots, drone manufacturers, and organizations navigate the complex regulatory environment around unmanned aircraft systems.
Rouhani serves as the Chief Executive Officer of RoC Aviation Services, leading a team of engineering and regulatory professionals that includes Jocelyn Pritchett, PE, Vice President of Engineering, and Matt Wiley, Vice President of Aviation. Together, they work to support growing industries within the commercial aviation and unmanned aircraft sectors, both through private and government contracting.
“I started this company in January of 2017, but this year I expanded it to add partners and additional services. The FAA implemented a new rule in April 2021, Part 89, which has a direct impact on the drone industry and set a strict timeline for compliance,” Rouhani said. “People are looking for guidance on how to comply, but there aren’t many options outside of law firms. With our relationships with the FAA and experience in the industry, I feel like we offer a novel and cost-effective solution to help expedite the certification process.”
Part 89 in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations created new operational, performance, and message element requirements for drones. The new FAA rule also set an 18-month certification deadline for manufacturers and a 30-month deadline for pilots.
Pritchett, a licensed Civil Engineer who previously ran her own civil design and planning firm and has worked on highway, rail, transit, and airport projects throughout the southeast region, said, “When Darcy approached me to be part of the RoC team, I could see the immediate potential. Not only did I love the fact that this is a woman-owned operation, but there’s a clear need for our services, which span from drones to acoustical/aerospace engineering to commercial/military aviation. With the recent FAA guideline changes, the clock is ticking for the drone industry, and we are well-positioned to help.”
But being a woman-owned company in a male-dominated industry isn’t the only thing that sets RoC apart, it’s also a disability-owned business enterprise. Rouhani is diagnosed with autism, dyslexia, and dysgraphia.
“I have spatial synesthesia, which allows me to see complex systems in my mind. It has been a huge asset and helped me build a pretty great career. Along with launching this company, I have an academic dream of being a Theoretical Physicist,” Rouhani said.
As an autistic professional, Rouhani also is passionate about supporting the local autism community. She serves on nonprofit boards, including CARD-USF, and volunteers within those organizations.
Pritchett said, “Darcy’s skill at analyzing complex systems and processes works to our clients’ benefit. She has an innate ability to problem-solve.”
In addition, both Rouhani and Pritchett are active members of Women and Drones, an organization dedicated to driving excellence in the unmanned aircraft systems industries by achieving equity and participation of women.
To learn more about RoC, visit their website at https://rocaviationservices.com/.