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ARTICLE: Purdue to lead FAA center on general aviation


General aviation safety is frequently mentioned as an area for major improvement. The FAA has designated Purdue University (the aviation technology department campus is pictured above) as the lead academic institution for the Center of Excellence Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability (PEGASAS). To help in this effort, other universities (Ohio State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Florida Institute of Technology, Iowa State, Texas A&M, Arizona State, Florida A&M, Hampton, Kent State, North Carolina A&T State, Oklahoma State, Southern Illinois (Carbondale), Tufts, Western Michigan and University of Minnesota, Duluth) are part of the consortium.

Their research curriculum includes airport technology, propulsion and structures, airworthiness, flight safety, fire safety, human factors, system safety management and weather. That’s a broad spectrum of issues; hopefully there will be real results for this sector of aviation which generates so much activity, that is uniquely American, but which also has significant room for safety growth.

To insure that these academic efforts are well focused, PEGASAS will involve a substantial and impressive array of private sector entities: GE Aviation, Battelle Memorial Institute, NetJets Inc., Cessna, Gulfstream, Piper, Raytheon, Rockwell Collins, Cirrus, Guardian Mobility, Harris Corporation, Jet Aviva, NextGen AeroSciences, Nelson Consulting, Rolls-Royce, The Spectrum Group, Take Flight Solutions and Woolpert.

The Flight Deck Display Research Laboratory at NASA Ames will add its governmental expertise.

Airports and state governments will contribute to PEGASAS — Columbus Regional, South Bend and Fort Wayne airports; Indiana, Florida, Georgia and Iowa transportation departments.

Aviation associations/foundation participating include the Flight Safety Foundation, 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.

This litany of 1st rate participants from academia, private companies, trade associations, NASA, state aviation departments and airports create expectations that with such a mass of talent some great results should be forthcoming. At the same time, a roster of 45 organizations (15 universities, 17 companies, one other federal government agency, 3 airports. 4 state aviation departments and 5 aviation associations) gives pause to how all these assets can be effectively managed.

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