Jim Williams to leave Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office ?


Persistent rumors are reaching our offices all pointing towards Jim Williams, Manager of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office (UASIO) leaving his current post in 2015. Some saying it might even be as early as January 2015. Patrick tweeted as much last Tuesday and so far nothing has come down the pike to confirm or deny it.

If true this could have serious implications for the small rule NPRM currently slated for later this year.

The small rule NPRM will ask the RPAS community what it thinks and wants. Important information to help create informed decisions for the FAA’s eventual UAS in the NAS integration efforts. The general press still believe that’s happening by September 2015. You gentle reader being here, realise different.

Should chairs be rearranged at the UASIO it will no doubt slow or delay the small rule NPRM once again.

Jim revealed for the first time earlier this year at sUSB Expo that the FAA was considering granting certain sUAS users airspace access. We have already seen the dispensations for Hollywood.

There can be no doubt that Jim has moved the dialogue forward during his time at the UASIO and has shown he is willing to listen. Perhaps this rumour is unfounded, if not best of luck Jim for whatever comes next.

A little bit about Jim from his Bio.

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 has 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.

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.

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) on the U.S. Space Shuttle Program.

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.