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National Institute of Aerospace Releases Congressionally-Requested Aviation Plan

Press Release From: National Institute of Aerospace
Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2005

The National Institute of Aerospace (NIA), along with the Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, is releasing to Congress today the report "Responding to the Call: Aviation Plan for American Leadership." Recognizing that the U.S. is losing its dominance in aviation technical and market leadership, Congress tasked NIA to conduct an industry- and academia-wide study to determine a five-year plan and budget for U.S. aeronautics research. More than 250 of the nation's top aviation experts contributed to the study that provides an integrated approach to regain world leadership in the aviation industry.

The industry/university study team focused on six key national needs: U.S. economic competitiveness, freedom of air travel, flight safety, securing and defending the nation, protecting the environment, and educating the future workforce. The plan builds on NASA's FY 2005 aeronautics budget and recommends an annual increase to return it to 1998 levels.

"Industry and academia have made an extraordinary effort to provide Congress a comprehensive strategic plan for the future of aeronautics," said Dr. Robert Lindberg, NIA President and Executive Director. "Aviation is a critical component in the U.S. balance of trade, and our capabilities have been eroding. The investments recommended by the study will restore the ability of the U.S. to compete successfully in the world market."

The full 1000+ page report provides detailed investment plans, budgets, and needs assessments for seven aeronautics sectors. The sectors addressed are airspace systems, aviation safety and security, subsonic aircraft, supersonic aircraft, hypersonic technologies, rotorcraft, and workforce and education. The milestones within each sector establish how the budget augmentations will affect our national needs. The full report details how an increase in each sector will benefit our aeronautics research as a whole and provides details of the team's proposed NASA five-year budget plan.

Congress appropriated $5,000,000 within NASA's 2004 budget for NIA to lead a non-partisan industry-university team to conduct this study. NIA received authorization to proceed with the study in August 2004, and tapped over 20 industry and university partners to complete the plan documented in the report released today.

The National Institute of Aerospace is a non-profit research and graduate education institute located in Hampton, Virginia near NASA Langley Research Center. It was created to complement Langley's mission to do leading-edge aerospace and atmospheric research, develop new technologies for the nation, and help inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

NIA was formed by a consortium of leading research universities and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Foundation. The roster of major research universities includes: Georgia Tech, Hampton University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina State University, the University of Maryland, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University and The College of William & Mary.

The Aviation Plan for American Leadership and further information on the National Institute of Aerospace is available on NIA's website, http://www.nianet.org.

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