Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Sept. 26, 1997

ISU a leader in new FAA center

by Skip Derra and Anita Rollins

Iowa State University and Ohio State University, Columbus, will team up to manage a new center to improve aircraft safety, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced earlier this week.

The new Airworthiness Assurance Center of Excellence (AACE) will identify and solve critical air safety challenges involving aircraft inspection, maintenance and repair; crashworthiness; propulsion; advanced materials; and landing gears.

Iowa State and Ohio State are part of the center's core team of nine institutions.

"The new Center of Excellence will tackle one of the most important challenges we face today -- how to make air travel safer," said President Martin Jischke. "The center will be a national focal point for aircraft research and testing to ensure the highest reliability and safety. It perfectly fits Iowa State's expertise in airplane reliability and in developing inspection techniques that are useful to the airline industry."

"In this Center of Excellence, some of the leading minds in academia, industry and government will advance aviation technology into the 21st century and beyond," said FAA administrator Jane F. Garvey. "This long-term partnership makes it possible for the FAA and other government agencies, such as NASA and the Department of Defense, to work with the academic community and industry to ensure the continued safety of the flying public."

The FFA contract provides for center support of up to $10 million per year for up to 10 years. It represents a long-term FAA commitment with the goal of having the center become self-supporting within 10 years.

AACE replaces and expands previous FAA support for the Center for Aviation Systems Reliability at ISU's Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE). The new program will be administered by the Institute for Physical Research and Technology with CNDE and academic departments of the College of Engineering contributing technical expertise.

As the contract/grant holder for the program, ISU is responsible for technical management of AACE. Bill Shurtleff, former manager of the Airworthiness Assurance Validation Center at Sandia National Laboratories, will join the ISU staff Oct. 6 as the AACE executive director. Working with Shurtleff as business manager will be Gerry Chubb, aviation professor at Ohio State.

"IPRT is pleased to be the institutional home of this impressive consortium," said Joel Snow, IPRT director. "We are confident this group successfully will develop and transfer technology that improves aviation safety."

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