Airway Pioneer Member
James A. Holtsclaw

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Starting as an air traffic controller in the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Holtsclaw has devoted his career to air traffic control and aviation safety. He has held upper management positions in the FAA, American Airlines, and the Air Transport Association (ATA). Additionally he was Facilitator of the Oceanic Working Group, from its’ founding in 1990, until his retirement in 2000. Mr. Holtsclaw has developed forums for users and providers to be used as a base for the open exchange of information to improve ATC systems and aviation relations.


LAX Industry Task Force – ATA Deputy Director

Most recently, Mr. Holtsclaw led the air carriers’ role in the LAX Industry Task Force. This collaborative effort with the Los Angeles World Airports and the FAA reviewed arrival and departure procedures to propose industry-accepted improvements to prepare for the LAX Master Plan implementation. As Deputy Director of the ATA’s Western Regional Office in 1996, he coordinated relations between 26 U.S. and 2 international carriers with the FAA, state, county and city governments. He was air carrier representative involved in Master Plans, Noise Abatement, and RNAV procedures.

AAL ATC Manager

As an ATC manager with American Airlines, he saved the airline several million dollars annually through his work with the FAA, DOD, and airports in developing preferred fuel/time-saving routes, air traffic policies, and airport policies (including airport/runway construction planning). He also developed and implemented the American Airlines’ LAX ramp tower for expediting gate traffic and better coordination with the tower.

FMS Approach/Departure – Pioneered ‘International Free Flight’

On the Flight Management System Integration Committee, he helped develop and obtain FAA approval of the initial FMS approach/departures at many airports—Phoenix, Chicago, Las Vegas, La Guardia, Seattle, Orange County, Washington National (Ronald Reagan), San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis. Now in use in South America and the Caribbean, these procedures have saved time and fuel, limited delays, and allowed accessibility to airports where weather conditions would otherwise not permit. Mr. Holtsclaw also pioneered “International Free Flight” by coordinating the first “Free Flight” between Dallas, Texas and Tokyo. He has been a strong advocate working with ICAO, IATA and international carriers developing CNS/ATM procedures.

Manager – LAX Control Tower – National Awards

As LAX Control Tower manager in 1984, Mr. Holtsclaw prepared the airport for the Olympics and handled its public relations. He established and facilitated the LAX Helicopter Operations Ad Hoc Committee (1985-1987), comprising airspace users and community noise groups. These usually opposing groups together developed helicopter routes and procedures to reduce noise and maintain safety and efficiency. Mr. Holtsclaw received a National Award from Helicopter Association International for this work. For this and other work of distinction, he received letters of commendation from Councilwoman Pat Russell, Senators Pete Wilson and Allan Cranston, and local mayors.


Early in his FAA career, Mr. Holtsclaw began the initial development of radar air traffic control procedures and integrated military flight operations into a common civil/military ATC system. He oversaw the first ARTSIII installation at Detroit Metro and TRACON at Ontario.

Graduate of:

U.S. Air Force Air Traffic Control School, Biloxi, Mississippi

FAA Air Traffic Management and Technical Schools, Middle Management Course, University of North Carolina; FAA Management Course, Lawton, Oklahoma; FAA Team Action, Long Beach, California; FAA Executive School, Charlottesville, Virginia; FAA Community Relations Seminar, San Diego, California.

FAA Air Traffic National Review Board Process, as prerequisite to managing a major Air Traffic Control Facility.
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