US Department of Commerce invests in Aviation Research at ERAU

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U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1 Million to Establish New Aviation and Engineering Research Center in Florida

Embry Riddle research benefits

Academic Research Applied in a new Hangar

Sec.  Wilbur RossU.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that a $1 million award to Embry-Riddle (ERAU) will be used to establish a new aviation and engineering research center in Florida. The grant specifically cited the new Applied Aviation and Engineering Research Hangar in Volusia County. The new facility will serve as the new home for Embry-Riddle’s Eagle Flight Research Center, a hub for engineering research and development.




“Embry-Riddle has a 90-year legacy of innovation, and our research is shaping the future of human mobility,” said University President Dr. P. Barry Butler. “We are pleased and honored to receive this research award to advance innovation, economic development and job growth in Florida.”





The Eagle Research Flight Center (ERFC) has an impressive list of dimensions of its capabilities:

  • Experimental flight testing
  • Aircraft modifications for FAA certification
  • Design and testing of unmanned aerial systems (UAS)
  • Development and verification of high-fidelity (up to Level D) flight-data models used in engineering and training simulators
  • Prototype engineering solutions to advance eco-friendly alternatives in aviation

Its resume of completed innovative project, which ERFC has recently completed, provided some justification for the DoC grant:

  • Modification of a Beechcraft King Air to enable operation as an aerial sprayer
  • Development of structural health monitoring systems for rotorcraft
  • Two flight testing campaigns for the Diamond DA42 Twinstar and DA42 L-360 Level 6 Flight Training Devices (FTDs)
  • Successful design, modification, and flight of the “World’s First Parallel Direct-Drive Hybrid Aircraft” for the NASA/Google-sponsored Green Flight Challenge
  • NASA Unmanned Systems Aerospace Operations Challenge
  • Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) ASTM Compliance Audits
  • The New Electric Airplane
  • Tethered Balloon Researcher
  • Dedicated Experimental Airplane

Such a facility devoted to application of the research on which ERAU’s faculty is working- “solutions to the challenges facing our nation’s aerospace, aviation, and related industries.” The EFRC is affiliated with the College of Engineering‘s Department of Aerospace Engineering and supports the class and individual projects of the university’s various undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral engineering students. The students’ research and practical efforts are supported by a diverse and experienced faculty, with specialties in fixed- and rotary-wing flight dynamics and control, flight testing, aeroelasticity, electrical engineering, air-breathing propulsion, parameter identification, and aerodynamics.

Videos on ERFC’s current projects:

The campus also hosts Erik Lindbergh’s VerdeGo Aero which is planning to design and manufacture a VTOL aircraft, powered by a hybrid electric powerplant.

ERFC’s future “will encompass aviation innovation projects such as alternative propulsion systems, electric and hybrid-electric aircraft, and electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL aircraft, as well as new fuels,” said Center Director Richard “Pat” Anderson.

Thanks to the Commerce Department, that future is $1,000,000 closer!

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