Purdue to lead FAA center on general aviation

October 1, 2012  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University has been chosen as a lead institution for a new Federal Aviation Administration Air Transportation Center of Excellence for general aviation.

The Center of Excellence Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability (PEGASAS) will focus research and testing efforts on safety, accessibility and sustainability to enhance the future of general aviation.

"The United States has the largest and most diverse general aviation community in the world, with more than 300,000 aircraft registered to fly through American skies," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "This innovative partnership with academia and industry will help us take general aviation safety to the next level."

Purdue's effort will involve the colleges of Engineering and Technology, in particular the schools of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Aviation Technology.

  "Purdue has world-class engineering and world-class aviation programs," said William Crossley, Purdue professor of aeronautics and astronautics and director of the PEGASAS center. "That makes us especially well prepared to address many of the issues facing general aviation."

The FAA said PEGASAS research and development efforts would cover a broad spectrum of general aviation safety issues, including airport technology, propulsion and structures, airworthiness, flight safety, fire safety, human factors, system safety management, and weather.

"While we don't have specific areas assigned yet, Purdue's breadth and depth of expertise in engineering and aviation will position us to work on any of the issues," Crossley said.

Also helping lead the Purdue effort will be Karen Marais, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics, who will work on effective communication among the researchers and their FAA colleagues, and John Young, a professor of aviation technology, who will organize PEGASAS education and technology-transfer activities.

Leading PEGASAS along with Purdue will be Ohio State University and Georgia Institute of Technology. The core team also will include Florida Institute of Technology and Iowa State and Texas A&M universities. Affiliate members include Arizona State, Florida A&M, Hampton, Kent State, North Carolina A&T State, Oklahoma State, Southern Illinois (Carbondale), Tufts and Western Michigan universities and University of Minnesota, Duluth.

The PEGASAS university members have nationally recognized collegiate flight education programs, and three of the core - Purdue, Ohio State and Texas A&M - own and operate their own airports, the FAA said.

PEGASAS industry and organizational partners include GE Aviation; Battelle Memorial Institute; NetJets Inc.; Cessna; Gulfstream; Piper; Raytheon; Rockwell Collins; Cirrus; Flight Safety Foundation; Guardian Mobility; Harris Corporation; Jet Aviva; NextGen AeroSciences; Nelson Consulting; Rolls-Royce; The Spectrum Group; Take Flight Solutions; Woolpert; the Flight Deck Display Research Laboratory at NASA Ames; Columbus Regional, South Bend and Fort Wayne airports; Indiana, Florida, Georgia and Iowa transportation departments; the National Business Aviation Association; the National Intercollegiate Flying Association; and Ohio Aerospace Institute. These non-federal affiliates will provide matching contributions to help offset the FAA's investment.

PEGASAS will engage both graduate-level and undergraduate students in its research activities, the FAA said.

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu

Source: William Crossley, 765-496-2872, crossley@purdue.edu

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