Principal Engineer MBE/MBSE, Gulfstream Aerospace
AIAA Associate Fellow

Career Background:
Principal Engineer with 25 years of Avionics and Systems Engineering experience that spans numerous areas within the aviation industry:

System EngineeringModel-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE)
Technology Research & DevelopmentProject Management
Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA)Six Sigma Green Belt
Remote Sensing / LIDAR FAA Licensed Private Pilot

Chris is a recognized industry expert in the field of Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) and Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA). He is a Principal Engineer of Model Based Engineering (MBE)/MBSE at Gulfstream. He has served as a Sr. Project Manager focused on Research & Development (R&D), technology maturation, requirements, managing customer expectations, and developing long term relationships built on trust. He has developed multi-national teams across the US, Europe and China.

As Principal Engineer MBE/MBSE, Mr. Watkins champions MBE/MBSE activities across Gulfstream. He developed MBSE and Model Based Design (MBD) process/tools such as the Electronic System Architecture Modeling (eSAM) method to enable early validation of requirements and to reduce the number of design iterations. He developed a rapid prototyping capability that utilizes virtual prototypes in functional flight simulation environments: Prepar3D and X-Plane. He has leveraged Virtual Reality technology in the development process to provide early design evaluation for both designers and to get early customer feedback. He helped stand up a Systems Integration group on the Gulfstream G500 and G600 programs and led Change Management activities.

Chris Watkins

As Sr. Project Manager, Flight Deck Innovation, he led research and development for future avionics projects (pre-program development), with focus on the avionics platforms and the pilot interface. Mr. Watkins stood up the Flight Deck Innovations research lab to investigate next-generation technologies. He architected and integrated the Data Concentration and Network (DCN), an IMA computing platform, on the G500 and G600 aircraft. He also led the Flight Management System (FMS) development for G500 and G600.

As the Aircraft Change Management Lead, Mr. Watkins established a new role in a growing systems organization to control change across the Gulfstream G500 and G600 aircraft systems during development when change is prevalent. He developed and implemented process to lock down labs in an aircraft configuration, and limit changes via an approval process. Established and manage Problem Reporting (PR) and approval process. Led systems Test Readiness Reviews (TRRs) for G500 aircraft Power On and Powered Rollout milestones.

As the Technical Lead of the GE COMAC C919 Avionics pursuit, he led a winning avionics technical pursuit and proposal in China. This included the development of a Chinese Joint Venture (JV) company.

As a Systems Engineer, he has architected avionics systems for Business, Regional, and large Air Transport markets. He has led systems integration within a systems-of-systems architecture, developed innovative civil aircraft certification strategies, invented new opto-mechanical remote sensing systems, and completed flight test demonstrations.

Working to Build the Future: Boeing 787 Dreamliner

As a Systems Architect and Certification Focal, Mr. Watkins has helped to innovate the Boeing 787 Common Core System (CCS) by architecting one of the first Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) computing platforms.

As a Flight Test Director, Mr. Watkins successfully completed a challenging flight test program for an optical air data system that pressed the limits of the aircraft testbed and crew. While he served as the MOADS Program Manager, Mr. Watkins dedicated his time to an aircraft avionics research and development project in order to develop a new air data system technology, namely an optical air data system for both military and commercial aircraft.

Project Summary

  • Electronic System Integration Modeling (eSAM) Method
  • Gulfstream Flight Deck Innovation (FDI) Research and Development (R&D)
  • Gulfstream G500 & G600 Aircraft: Avionics Computing (DCN), Flight Management System (FMS), Systems Integration
  • COMAC C919 Avionics Systems (China)
  • Boeing 787 Common Core System (CCS) computing platform [Integrated Modular Avionics]
  • Molecular Optical Air Data System (MOADS) Airborne LIDAR
  • Joint Optical Air Data System (JOADS) Airborne LIDAR
  • Molecular and Aerosol Detector for Clear Air Turbulence (MADCAT)
  • Reusable Launch Vehicle Air Data System (RLVADS)
  • GroundWinds atmospheric direct detection LIDAR
  • Robotics: Automated Wafer Cartridge System (AWCS). Technology demonstration for space-grown thin-film semiconductor material in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
  • Alternative Energy: Advanced Metal To Energy Conversion (AMTEC)
  • Dimango: radio transmitter radiation pattern optimization for mass-produced household wireless door bells

Relevant Certifications and Professional Affiliations:

  • Six Sigma Green Belt, Gulfstream Aerospace
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Associate Fellow, Life Member, 2005-present
  • AIAA Digital Avionics Technical Committee, served as Publications Chair, Outreach Subcommittee Chair, 2007-present
  • AIAA/IEEE Digital Avionics Systems Conference, General Conference Chair (2011), Technical Chair (2009, 2010)
  • International society for optical engineering (SPIE) member, 2001-2005
  • Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) member, 2002-present
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Licensed Private Pilot
  • Licensed Amateur Radio Operator (Technician + Class)


  • Trend Indications for Avionics Systems, US Patent # 11378414. New way to provide aircraft system status information to pilots in a dynamic format to declutter system synoptics during normal system operation, but to expand status for early indication of system parameters that are trending such that they will be out of normal operating condition if mitigation action isn’t taken.
  • Aircraft HUD with Curved Tapes and Flight Mode Annunciation Boxes, US Patent # 10,876,856. New way to display aircraft flight information to pilot in 3D format. Improves ability to monitor rate of change of airspeed and altitude in peripheral vision while pilot focuses attention out the window (notably during takeoff, approach and landing).


  • Gulfstream Aerospace, Savannah, GA
    A wholly-owned subsidiary of General Dynamics
    Principal Engineer MBE/MBSE, Flight Deck Innovation, 2022-present
    Sr. Project Manager, Advanced Flight Deck, 2017-2022
    Avionics Systems Engineer, G500/G600 Aircraft Programs, 2011-2017
  • General Electric (GE) Aviation, Grand Rapids, MI
    GE Acquired Smiths Aerospace in 2007
    Systems Architect, Platform Computing Systems, 2007-2011
  • Smiths Aerospace (Smiths Group PLC), Grand Rapids, MI
    Boeing 787 CCS Systems Certification Focal, 2006-2007
    Boeing 787 CCS Systems Engineer, 2004-2006
  • Michigan Aerospace Corporation, Ann Arbor, MI
    Program Manager, Research Engineer, 1997 – 2004
    Founding Employee. Member of original team.
  • Advanced Modular Power Systems (AMPS), Ann Arbor, MI
    Engineering Tech, 1996-1998
  • Environmental Research Institute of Michigan (ERIM), Ann Arbor, MI
    Engineering Tech, 1996-1997
  • Dimango Products, Brighton, MI
    Electrical Technician, 1994-1995


  • Systems Engineering Fundamentals Graduate Certificate, 2021
    Caltech, Pasadena, California – evaluated course for rollout within Gulfstream engineering
  • M.S. Systems Engineering, 2013 GPA: 4.00/4.00
    Missouri University of Science and Technology
    (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla), Rolla, Missouri
  • Engineering Management Graduate Certificate, 2013 GPA: 4.00/4.00
    Missouri University of Science and Technology
    (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla), Rolla, Missouri
  • Systems Engineering Graduate Certificate, 2009 GPA: 4.00/4.00
    Missouri University of Science and Technology
    (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla), Rolla, Missouri
  • B.S. Electrical Engineering, 1999
    Kettering University
    (formerly GMI Engineering & Management Institute), Flint, Michigan

Co-curricular activities:

  • General Aviation (Private Pilot)
  • Amateur Radio operator (Technician-Plus Class)
  • H.O.P.E. – Founder, provide support for people dealing with cancer, and other life-threatening diseases