Pilot offers navigation tips for ATF application
By Karen McLean
SPEEA publications editor
RENTON – Capt. Jim Wilkerson has a lot of work experience – as a retired Air Force pilot and a Boeing instructor pilot for the 747, 777 and 787. He’s
also an instructor for Required Navigation
Performance (RNP), and holds a Letter of
Authorization from the FAA to validate Required
Navigation Performance (RNP) instrument
flight procedures in the simulator and aircraft.
But applying for the Associate Technical Fellow,
as an expert in his field, was more challenging
than one might expect. That’s one reason why
Wilkerson, a Council Rep for the SPEEA Pilots
and Instructors Unit (SPIU), offers to help others
any chance he gets.
“It’s one of the expectations, now that we are
ATFs,” said Wilkerson, a manufacturer instructor pilot. “You know how hard it is, now go
Wilkerson emphasized the work that goes
into applying. He encouraged applicants to
take advantage of the training available, which
includes an application review and practice
“My final application was the 10th revision,” he said.
He noted how the applicants must show their
contributions in categories such as mentoring,
technical vision, expertise in your field and
impact in and outside of Boeing.
“One of the more challenging aspects of applying,” said Wilkerson, “is while you are focused
on your job at Boeing, how do you expand
your industrial work and represent Boeing in
the industry or regulatory setting?”
For Wilkerson, he noted his work introducing a new use for simulator training regarding digital communications. Wilkerson is also
involved with a number of industry groups on
Performance Based Navigation (PBN), including
the European Aviation Safety Agency.
Prior to Boeing, Wilkerson flew tankers and
transport planes in the Air Force for 14 years of
active duty and also has an engineering degree.
He also flew in the Air Force Reserves for his first
seven years at Boeing, where he started in 2001.
Wilkerson recently stepped up as Council Rep
because he appreciates the importance of what
CRs do in the workplace.
They help answer questions about SPEEA and
can represent a bargaining unit employee who
invokes his/her Weingarten right to represen-
tation in case of a disciplinary or investigatory
“We’re all professionals,” he said, but added, “you
never know when you might need some help.”
Associate Technical Fellows (ATFs) are selected
through a rigorous and competitive application process. They join Technical Principals,
Technical Fellows, and Senior Technical Fellows
as top technical leaders in their area of expertise
at The Boeing Company.
Candidates for ATF are nominated every other
year and will begin next spring. The applicants
for this year’s Technical Fellow selection process
are in review.
To learn more, go to technicalfellowship.web.
boeing.com on the Boeing intranet.
Pilot’s flight photos in exhibit
Capt. Jim Wilkerson, Council Rep for the SPEEA Pilots/Instructors Unit, is shown here with two
of his photos selected by the Museum of Flight for its Spirit of Flight exhibit (opening Sept. 12).
The photo on the left is "Birds Get the First Flight of the Morning" – taken around sunrise, April
2015 at Pierce County's Thun Field. On the right is "Space Shot Then and Now" - taken in April
2015, at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. The photos will appear in the
Great Gallery at the Seattle museum along with other jury selected pictures that capture ‘Spirit of
Flight.’ Wilkerson is one of the Associate Technical Fellow (ATF) pilots.
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