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NBAA Supports New FAA Center of Excellence for General Aviation
October 10, 2012
NBAA Chief Operating Officer Steve Brown said the Association is enthusiastic about working with government and industry to make the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) new Center of Excellence (COE) for General Aviation “all it can be.”
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced the Center of Excellence on Sept. 27. Citing the size, scope and diversity of general aviation in the United States, he said, “This innovative partnership with academia and industry will help us take general aviation safety to the next level.” In addition to safety, the COE’s research and testing efforts will address accessibility and sustainability of general aviation into the future.
Through numerous avenues, such as its professional development programs, NBAA already has relationships with the universities that embody PEGASAS, the COE’s academic Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability, said Brown. A number of these schools were involved with the first COE, a 10-year program that ended in 2011. “We learned from them that it was productive and useful,” he added, and NBAA joined the effort and supports its broad range of research and technology development.
Purdue University, The Ohio State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology lead PEGASAS, and the core team includes Florida Institute of Technology, Iowa State University and Texas A&M University. Affiliate members include Arizona State University, Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Kent State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Oklahoma State University, Southern Illinois University, Tufts University, Western Michigan University and the University of Duluth. All have renowned aviation programs, and three of the core members (Purdue, Ohio State and Texas A&M) own and operate their own airports.
The FAA will invest at least $500,000 annually for the first half of the 10-year COE. PEGASAS’s research and development efforts will cover a broad spectrum of GA safety issues, from airport technology, weather and human factors to airframes, powerplants, fire safety and safety system management. The resulting data will help the FAA in its goal to reduce general aviation fatalities by 10 percent over a 10- year period, from 2009 to 2018.
NBAA is one of more than two dozen industry businesses and organizations that support the COE. Each of them brings specific expertise to the effort, and as a group they cover every aspect of general aviation.
Part of NBAA’s support of the COE will be connecting interested Member Companies whose operations mesh with the requirements of individual research projects, which will engage both graduate and undergraduate students, said Brown. In turn, this exposure to the scope of business aviation will certainly result in a deeper, more knowledgeable pool of talent.
General aviation is one of nine of Centers of Excellence the FAA has created.