The FAA COE’s Academic Roster adds OU to research teaching of the next generation of ATCers

faa centers of excellence
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FAA Centers of Excellence

Air Transportation

The FAA’s mission mandates that it regulate the safety of aviation. That industry continues to innovate, bringing new technologies to be applied throughout all aspects of flight. As the final judge of airworthiness and safety of flight, it must be able to assess the utilization of these ever more advanced sciences, engineering, physics, human performance and a long list of relevant lines of research. It is almost impossible for any federal agency to maintain currency in the collective escalation of academic and industrial knowledge.

In a rare show of wisdom, the Congress in 1990 passed Public Law 101-508 (49 USC Section 44513). That legislation instructed the FAA Administrator to create a system of Air Transportation Centers of Excellence (COE) program. The target subjects for this network of aviation research universities dedicated to the following specific topics:

(i) airspace and airport planning and design;

(ii) airport capacity enhancement techniques;

(iii) human performance in the air transportation environment;

(iv) aviation safety and security;

(v) the supply of trained air transportation personnel, including pilots and mechanics; and

(vi) other aviation issues related to developing and maintaining a safe and efficient air transportation system

To be selected as a COE, the university (or consortium of institutions) must meet these criteria:

(1) the extent to which the needs of the State in which the applicant is located are representative of the needs of the region for improved air transportation services and facilities.

(2) the demonstrated research and extension resources available to the applicant to carry out this section.

(3) the ability of the applicant to provide leadership in making national and regional contributions to the solution of both long-range and immediate air transportation problems.

(4) the extent to which the applicant has an established air transportation program.

(5) the demonstrated ability of the applicant to disseminate results of air transportation research and educational programs through a statewide or regionwide continuing education program.

(6) the projects the applicant proposes to carry out under the grant.

Since its inception, the FAA has funded the following subjects to be pursued at these COEs [note: the acronym creator technician (ACT) is quite talented]:

  • The Joint Center for Computational Modeling of Aircraft Structures (CMAS) was congressionally mandated COE and was created in 1992. This first COE conducted research in technological areas dealing with fatigue damage, residual life and residual strength estimations, mechanical and composite patch repairs, life enhancement methodologies, and discrete source damage.

→  1992 – 1996 (Closed)

  • In 1994, the COE for Airport Technology (CEAT), originally focused on Airport Pavement Technology R&D, was competitively selected. Airport Technology concentrated in high performance concrete, non-destructive evaluation of pavements, stabilized base materials, structural behavior and modeling, airport pavement design concepts and procedures, and wildlife research.
    • Members:Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • Public Partners:O’Hare Modernization Program, O’Hare International Airport, Chicago Department of Aviation, Port of Seattle, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Providence International Airport, Rhode Island Airport Corporation
  • The COE for Operations Research (NEXTOR) was selected in 1996. In collaboration with the FAA and industry, NEXTOR was formed to perform research in the areas of air traffic management and control, safety data analysis, communications, data collection, distribution, human factors, system performance and assessment measures, and aviation economics. After transitioning from the COE program NEXTOR has continued its research as a self managed program.

→  1996 – 2007 (Active/Self-Sufficient)

faa centers of excellence

  • In 1997 the COE for Airworthiness Assurance (AACE) was established. This center was created to focus on maintenance, inspection and repair, crashworthiness, propulsion and fuel systems safety technologies, and advance materials.

→  1997 – 2007 (Closed)

  • In 2001 the COE for General Aviation (CGAR) was established to conduct research in the field of general aviation (GA). The COE for GA encompasses all types of aviation not considered military or commercial. The focus areas are airport technology, propulsion and structures, aging aircraft, flight safety, and fire safety as they related to general aviation.
    • Members:the University of Alaska – Anchorage, the University of Alaska – Fairbanks, the University of North Dakota, and Wichita State University, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • The COE for Aircraft Noise and Aviation Emissions Mitigation (PARTNER) was established in 2003. This COE was formed to perform research on the effects of noise and emissions impacts, noise and emissions abatement flight procedures and technology, compatible land use management, airport operational controls, noise and emissions measurements and health impacts, aviation atmospheric effects, interrelationships between noise and emissions, communication, and continuing education.
    • Members:Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Lead), Boston University, Georgia Tech Research Corporation, Harvard University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, Stanford University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Illinois, University of Pennsylvania, University of North Carolina, and York University
    • Affiliates:Cambridge University, University of California at San Diego, University of Houston, University of Reading, University of Sheffield.
  • Also in 2003 the Joint COE for Advanced Materials (JAMS) was selected by the Administrator. Two university teams came together to form this COE to conduct research in bonded joints processing, structural substantiation, damage tolerance and durability, advanced material forms / processes, flammability and crashworthiness, nanotechnology for composite structures, life management of materials for improved aircraft maintenance practices, and material standardization and shared databases
    • CECAM Members:Wichita State University (Lead), Northwestern University, Purdue University, University of Delaware, University of California at Los Angeles, Tuskegee University
    • AMTAS Members:University of Washington (Lead), Washington State University, Oregon State University, Edmonds Community College, Florida International University, and University of Utah
  • In 2004 the COE for Airliner Cabin Environment Research (ACER) was formed to ensure the safety, security, and health of all human occupants of aerospace vehicles. Among the targeted technologies are cabin sensor system development, contamination mitigation technology development, air quality incident analysis, airline occupant health issue linkage, and field and laboratory analysis of potential contaminants. . The Center was re-named the COE for Research in the Intermodal Transport Environment (RITE). The Center, in collaboration with the FAA, expanded its scope and now engages in research and development to ensure the safety and health of all human occupants of aircraft as well as other vehicles used in public transportation (e.g., trains, buses, etc.). This partnership seeks to develop tools to understand and mitigate occupant safety and health risks that arise from environmental issues.
  • In 2005 the COE for Airport Technology (CEAT) completed its ten year evaluation and became and was designated as a member of the COE Alliance. The COE Alliance represents a special designation for a COE consortium once it has proven to be a viable and vibrant member of the aeronautical research community for a period of ten years. In 2010 the COE for Operations Research (NEXTOR) became the second COE consortium to be designated as a member of the COE Alliance.
  • The COE for Commercial Space Transportation (CST) was selected by the Administrator in 2010. The COE for CST goals fall into four main research areas and those are then broken into multiple sub-areas. The major research areas are: Space Traffic Management & Operations; Space Transportation Operations, Technologies; Human Spaceflight; and Space Transportation Industry Viability.
    • Members:Florida Institute of Technology, Florida State University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, New Mexico State University, Stanford University, University of Central Florida, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Florida, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
    • Affiliate Member:McGill University

Center of Excellence for the Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability (PEGASAS), Established: 2012 Sponsor: Aviation Research Division; Areas of Focus: The enhancement of general aviation safety, accessibility, and sustainability by partnering the FAA with a national network of world-class researchers, educators, and industry leaders.

  • Members: Purdue University (lead), Florida Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Iowa State University, The Ohio State University, Texas A&M University.
  • Affiliate Members:Arizona State University, Florida AMU, Kent State University, North Carolina AT&T, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Tufts University, University of Minnesota at Duluth, Western Michigan University
  • Public Partners:Battelle Memorial Institute, Cessna, Cirrus, Columbus Regioinal Airports, Embraer, Flight Safety Foundation, Fort Wayne Airport, GE Aviation, Guardian Mobility, Gulfstream, Harris Corporation, Iowa Departments of Transportation, Jet Aviva, NASA Flight Deck Display Research Laboratory, National Business Aviation Association, National Intercollegiate Flying Association, Nelson Consulting, NetJets, NextGen Aerosciences, Ohio Aerospace Institute, Piper, Raytheon, Rockwell Collins, Rolls-Royce, South Bend Airport, State of Florida, State of Georgia, State of Indiana, Take Flight Solutions, The Spectrum Group, Woopert

The COE history of grants, the recipients, the project descriptions, the $ amount, the FAA point of contact, the principal researcher and the statutory bases are listed on this informative website:

faa centers of excellence

To help motivate the research and to attract the best and the brightest to these COEs, the FAA recognizes the Students of the Year (FYI, MIT has 2 of the 4) and Program of the Year:

faa centers of excellenceAdministrator Michael Huerta announced selection of the University of Oklahoma[1] and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University teams to lead the new Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Technical Training and Human Performance (COE TTHP). This COE will conduct research and development on technical training for air traffic controllers, aviation safety inspectors, engineers, pilots and technicians.

faa centers of excellence

The FAA will take advantage of advancements in teaching, such as part-task training, modeling, immersive human-in-the-loop simulation, and adaptive learning technologies that are standard in other technical workforces. The COE will examine human factors issues such as changes in learner expectations and academic best practices for training a new generation of learners. The center also will research innovative training methods for this new generation. This includes new technologies such as mobile learning as well as new ways of collecting and managing training data

“This world-class, public-private partnership will help us focus on the challenges and opportunities of this cutting-edge field of research,” Administrator Huerta said. “We expect this team will help us educate and train aviation professionals well into the future.”

The academic team members all have nationally-recognized collegiate aviation-related education programs and core members also own and operate their own aircraft and airports. A partnership of principal investigators from the different universities will perform the research projects. The universities will engage senior faculty as well as graduate-level and undergraduate students in their research activities.The FAA expects the COE will be fully operational and engaged in a robust research agenda within the next few months.

faa centers of excellenceU.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), pictured here with his former Senate colleague and now President of OU, David Boren, said:

Oklahoma continues to be nationally recognized for its leadership in aviation,” said Inhofe. “This is in large part because the University of Oklahoma, as well as Oklahoma State University and Tulsa Community College, are on the front lines of providing innovative research and training to support the future of our nation’s air transportation system. Their hard work and state-wide collaboration has resulted in our colleges being selected for FAA’s new COE for Technical Training and Human Performance, with OU leading the team. This new research program will find strong community support and collaboration from Oklahoma’s 10 control towers, robust aviation sector, and numerous FAA technical training and research facilities.”

The Senator included in his press release this letter which he and the entire OK Congressional delegation sent to:

faa centers of excellence

Congratulations to the Senator’s staff for reciting every criteria established in 49 USC §44513(d) (1)-(6) and welcome to OU in the FAA’s Aviation  National University System of Excellence Research (FAN USER).

“This world-class, public-private partnership will help us focus on the challenges and opportunities of this cutting-edge field of research,” Administrator Huerta said. “We expect this team will help us educate and train aviation professionals well into the future.”

The academic team members all have nationally-recognized collegiate aviation-related education programs and core members also own and operate their own aircraft and airports. A partnership of principal investigators from the different universities will perform the research projects. The universities will engage senior faculty as well as graduate-level and undergraduate students in their research activities.

The FAA expects the COE will be fully operational and engaged in a robust research agenda within the next few months.

The FAA will take advantage of advancements in teaching, such as part-task training, modeling, immersive human-in-the-loop simulation, and adaptive learning technologies that are standard in other technical workforces. The COE will examine human factors issues such as changes in learner expectations and academic best practices for training a new generation of learners. The center also will research innovative training methods for this new generation. This includes new technologies such as mobile learning as well as new ways of collecting and managing training data.

 

[1] If OU was part of the PARTNER noise reduction, the tagline might be “Boomer, Sooner”


ARTICLE: Inhofe Praises Selection of University of Oklahoma to lead new FAA Center of Excellence
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