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FAA creates center of excellence at
University of Washington, Wichita State University

The FAA has created a new Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials.

The center, awarded jointly to the University of Washington and Wichita State University, will conduct research, engineering and prototype development toward the safe and reliable use of advanced materials and composites in large commercial aircraft.

The new center’s work will focus primarily on the safety and certification of existing and emerging applications of composites and advanced materials in commercial transport aircraft. Specific projects will include evaluating data from past applications, performing basic and applied research, and deriving standard engineering practices.

Other academic institutions participating in the new center are Washington State University, Northwestern University, Oregon State University, Purdue University, Tuskegee University, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Delaware, and Edmonds Community College, Washington.

The FAA’s share in the cost of the center will span 3 to 10 years and will total $300,000 to $500,000 each for the University of Washington and Wichita State University in the first year, with a minimum of $300,000 annually over the next two years. Matching funds also are provided to the center by the private sector.

Congress authorized the Air Transportation Centers of Excellence in the Federal Aviation Administration Research, Engineering and Development Authorization Act of 1990. This legislation enables the FAA to partner with universities and industry to conduct research towards improving aviation safety, environmental impact and efficiency, as well as airspace and airport planning and design.

The FAA has established six other Centers of Excellence for computational modeling of aircraft structures, airport pavement technology, operations research, airworthiness assurance, general aviation and aircraft noise, and aviation emissions mitigation.

For more information about the FAA Centers of Excellence program, visit the COE web page at