Joe Jacobsen

Joe Jacobsen is an aerospace engineer and independent aviation safety advocate with more than 39 years of experience.  

Joe works closely with congressional offices to fact check and monitor progress of the Aviation Certification Safety and Accountability Act (ACSAA).  He provided analysis and testimony for the Senate Whistleblower report on the 737 Max crashes, and he collaborates with ET302 families and other safety advocacy groups.

Joe educates political leaders and media on transport airplane design, certification, and safety issues.  He appeared on PBS Frontline, American Greed (CNBC), and the Australian Broadcasting Company, in addition to interviews for print articles in the Seattle Times, New York Times, and the BBC.

Joe coordinated transport airplane certification issues for all technical disciplines and all domestic and foreign products in his first decade at the FAA.  In this project management role, he had domestic coordination in Seattle, Wichita, New York, and Atlanta.  He also worked on special projects, such as certification of strengthened flight deck doors, very large commercial transports (A380 and 747-8), and fuel tank safety.  In addition, he developed technology solutions for information management and to reduce the Airworthiness Directive (AD) backlog.  Finally, he spent six months as the acting manager of the Standardization Branch, where he worked with every worldwide transport airplane manufacturer across all technical subjects.

Joe’s final 15 years at the FAA were a return to his technical specialty.  He was responsible for transport airplane regulations and guidance for performance and handling qualities (Part 25, Subpart B, Flight).  In his regulatory leadership role, he sponsored the ARAC Flight Test Harmonization Working Group.  He has developed fly-by-wire special conditions and proposed regulations for new and novel flight control features.  He has design, evaluation, and certification experience on Airbus, ATR, Boeing, Bombardier, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream, and Textron designs.  

Joe also sponsored the ARAC Avionics Harmonization Working Group as an outgrowth of his work to develop low speed alerting policy and proposed regulations.

In other international roles, Joe spent five years as a participant in the COMAC ARJ21 “shadow certification” with the CAAC of China and was the FAA representative in the EASA Rulemaking team to address loss of control/loss of flight path.

Joe has been the FAA technical representative in two NTSB accident investigations: the 2009 ATR42 crash in Lubbock, TX, and the 2013 Airbus A300 crash in Birmingham, AL.  He’s also provided flight dynamics support to many other incident and accident investigations.

Joe began his career at Boeing Commercial Airplanes and worked briefly in 767-300 structural analysis before transitioning to 767 aerodynamics engineering, where he supported design, certification, and flight management computer (FMC) database development.  Later, he worked in 777 aerodynamics engineering, where he served as an FAA Designated Engineering Representative (DER) in flight analysis.  He supported design, certification, and sales of the 777.  He also tested and provided DER approvals for the first Boeing digital flight manual.  In his sales support role, he worked primarily with All Nippon Airways to answer questions and develop their 777 performance guarantees.

Joe holds a B.S. from the University of Washington in Aeronautics and Astronautics (1984), where he also worked in wind tunnel testing from 1983-84.