Director, Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership
Tombo Jones’ unique blend of aviation expertise and skilled leadership anchor his role as MAAP’s director. He leads MAAP’s work as an FAA-designated UAS test site as well as its leadership of Virginia’s team in the BEYOND program, directing the management and growth of a portfolio that encompasses major federal drone-integration initiatives and complex technical research projects.
Jones joined MAAP in 2017, after serving for 12 years in the U.S. Coast Guard in a series of progressively larger management roles, and became MAAP’s associate director two years later. At MAAP, Jones’ experience with operational risk assessment and management formed the basis for the group’s systematic, risk-based process for safety case development — a framework that has been instrumental in enabling MAAP to win unprecedented approvals and become a model for the industry. His talent for cultivating a supportive team culture characterized by an unwavering commitment to both excellence and safety supported MAAP during a period of rapid expansion and continue to be at the core of the group’s successful execution of ambitious projects that have meaningfully advanced UAS integration.
Before joining the Coast Guard, Jones served in the U.S. Army, where he received numerous awards and commendations including the Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star.
Jones is a member of multiple professional groups and organizations including the UAS Working Group of the Helicopter Association International and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. He is a certified air transport pilot and a certified flight instructor with an instrument rating.