FAA Faces: J.B. Williams — FAA employee profile

by Paul Cianciolo, FAA Safety Briefing

FAASTeam Helicopter SME, General Aviation and Commercial Division

Soon after J.B. Williams earned his private pilot wings at the age of 18, he enlisted in the Air Force as an air traffic controller. During the next four-plus years in military service, he used his GI Bill benefits to earn his commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates, instrument and multi-engine ratings, and complete his bachelor’s degree. That allowed J.B. to attend Officer Training School and obtain a slot in Air Force pilot training.

J.B. Williams

“My first assignment after graduating was to act as an enemy intruder flying the T-33 Shooting Star as part of fighter pilot/combat controller training,” J.B. explains. He then went on to train cadets at the Air Force Academy. “I completed my Air Force career flying the HH-53 Jolly Green Giant recovering reconnaissance satellites after they splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.”

After 10 years of Air Force service, J.B. flew for Trans Colorado Airlines, and later Continental Airlines, where he flew the DC-10, DC-9, and MD-80. In 1990, he joined the FAA as an air carrier operations aviation safety inspector.

“I joined the FAA to broaden my aviation career,” he notes. “I wanted to see the other side of aviation and get involved with aviation safety.” J.B. now works with the national FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) as the helicopter subject matter expert (SME) and is the SharePoint manager who links FAASTeam representatives to current training documents. He also serves on the FAA’s Compliance Philosophy Focus Team as the SME for remedial pilot training.

As the educational outreach arm of the FAA, the FAASTeam is committed to serving the GA community and making our skies even safer. It promotes safety through many different outlets — in-person seminars, webinars, online education through FAASafety.gov, and production of safety brochures, videos, and this magazine. One of J.B.’s projects is the development of a free Flight Risk Assessment Tool (FRAT) smart phone application to easily allow any pilot, especially those just flying for fun, to better assess the risks before their flights.

“Our mission is safety and reducing the GA accident rate. The best way to do that is to educate pilots on safety and risk management.”

The FAASTeam has also been involved in providing education on small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) operations as well as providing certificated pilots the means to qualify for the Remote Pilot Certificate by completing the part 107 Remote Pilot Training Course on FAASafety.gov. Educational outreach about NextGen and the 2020 ADS-B mandate is also ongoing; pilots need to understand the importance of upgrading their equipment to be ADS-B Out compliant.

J.B. notes that one of the biggest challenges the FAASTeam faces is reaching the pilots and mechanics who do not usually participate in or read FAA safety outreach material. If you are reading this magazine and have an idea on how to reach those not reading it or attending safety seminars, send us an email or a tweet. We all fly in the same airspace, so help us reach out to our fellow pilots.

“Every pilot is involved in risk management whether they know it or not,” explains J.B. “Our advice to GA pilots is to use an organized and repeatable risk-based decision making process before you fly to ensure that you are operating at the highest safety standard.”

If you fly the skies over Cary, North Carolina, keep a lookout for J.B. He is either working on or flying his experimental Titan Tornado S every Sunday. He also volunteers with his local EAA chapter. You can bet he completes a flight risk analysis before every flight, even with all that flight experience. So should you.

Paul Cianciolo is an assistant editor and the social media lead for FAA Safety Briefing. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran, and a rated aircrew member and public affairs officer with the Civil Air Patrol.

This article was originally published in the January/February 2017 issue of FAA Safety Briefing magazine.
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