Michael D. Williams

Michael D. Williams

Michael D. Williams is a pioneering aviation industry inventor committed to improving airline safety throughout the world. A trio of airline tragedies inspired Michael’s path to revolutionizing aircraft fuel safety by developing protection enhancements that were installed on most Delta Air Lines fleets and in approximately 40 other airlines worldwide. He also developed the first and only patented after-market-based fuel ignition mitigation system--INVICTA™--. Today, INVICTA™ is certified on most Boeing and Airbus aircraft. Michael holds three patents, and is highly regarded in the industry with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) official stating that, “INVICTA should be on every aircraft flying.”

After earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Savannah State College and completing the Advanced Management Education Program at Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and Clark Atlanta University’s Small Business Executive Education Program, Michael, a Macon Georgia native, began his career as an engineer at Eastern Airlines in 1980. He progressed rapidly to become avionics engineer for Air Florida Airlines.

When an Air Florida flight that Michael was scheduled to be on in 1982 crashed into the Potomac River, killing dozens of people, it produced the trigger that shifted his focus to improving aviation safety. Michael founded Jetaire Group, a global aerospace manufacturing and engineering organization, in 1984. Headquartered in Fayetteville, Georgia, Jetaire has grown to four offices providing aerospace industry safety initiatives in 60-plus countries.

As Jetaire grew, so did Michael’s determination to help save lives. After the 1996 ValueJet crash that killed 110 people, including a close family friend, Michael focused on developing smoke detection and fire suppression systems in the aircraft lower cargo hold. Months later, when a Boeing Model 747-100 series airplane operated by Trans World Airlines (TWA) was involved in an inflight breakup, resulting in 230 fatalities, Michael developed the INVICTA™ system to mitigate fuel tank explosions.

As an aviation safety trailblazer, Michael is responsible for nearly 200 major design approvals and certifications of more than 500 FAA approvals for commercial and corporate aircraft. In addition to being recognized in several publications including Aviation Pros, Center for Aviation, Georgia CEO, Intelligent Aerospace, JetTrader Magazine, Miami Herald, Modstore Newsletter, and MRO Business Today, his numerous honors and awards include:

  • The 2021 Epps Aviation Lifetime Achievement Award
  • The 2020 GLOBE Award from the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s International Trade Division
  • Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2019 Entrepreneur 360 Award as one of the nation’s most successful entrepreneurial companies based on their five pillars of business success.
  • Delta Small Business of the Year
  • Appointed as a FAA Designated Engineering Representative (DER)—In 1984, Michael received this annual appointment and held it for 33 years, making him one of the youngest and one of the first African Americans to receive this designation.

Michael has been married for 43 years to Leilani Williams and is the proud father of daughters Kristina and Rachel and grandfather to Cameron. His passions include flying his Cirrus aircraft and teaching his grandson and other young people about aviation.