Jim Williams is the Manager of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Office. This office functions as the single agency focal point for all UAS-related activities and is uniquely positioned to develop and coordinate solutions to UAS challenges across the FAA and with external organizations.
UAS are often described as the most disruptive aviation technology since the invention of the jet engine, and the FAA’s UAS Integration Office has the daunting challenge of accomplishing the safe, efficient, and timely integration of this technology into the National Airspace System (NAS), while balancing the political pressure and economic needs of the nation.
Before taking the helm of the UAS Integration Office in March 2012, Jim spent six years as the Director of Engineering Services in the FAA’s NextGen Organization, where he led the coordination and integration of all systems engineering work needed to move the NAS toward NextGen. This work gave him a deep understanding of how FAA research progresses into a mature concept and eventually into the many technologies that become operational in the NAS. His office also led the development of the NAS Enterprise Architecture and NAS-level Requirements. Together these engendered a great appreciation for the interrelationships of the many systems which will be touched by the UAS integration effort.
During his long career with the FAA, Jim led the organization tasked with lifecycle management of all FAA communications systems and the implementation of the Safety Management System in the Technical Operations Service Unit. He has also worked with the FAA Command Center to transition personnel into the Air Traffic Organization, directed the team that developed, procured, and installed all air/ground communications services for the FAA, and led the team that designed, procured, and fielded the FAA’s prototype Air/Ground Data Link Communications System. Jim also led the FAA Team that negotiated with other federal agencies to create a second civil GPS frequency.
Prior to 1998, Jim held various FAA positions related to the regulation and certification of avionics systems. During this time, he led the offices responsible for writing standards for all avionics installed in U.S. civil aircraft and the certification standards and guidance for all navigation systems used on U.S. civil aircraft.
Before coming to FAA Headquarters in Washington, DC, Jim worked in the Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office as a systems engineer where his responsibilities focused on approving the avionics installed in the Gulfstream G-IV airplane. He also worked on revisions to the RTCA standards for the development of computer software used in avionics.
Prior to joining the FAA, Jim was a flight test engineer and a production liaison engineer for the Lockheed Georgia Company’s C5, C-141, and C-130 programs. He also worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Mission Control during the initial U.S. Space Shuttle flights.
A native of Tennessee, Jim is a graduate of The Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. He currently lives in Reston, VA, with his wife, son, mother-in-law, and two standard poodles. He enjoys umpiring Little League baseball.