SW Michigan Second Wave
New Aviation Center Will Work for Safer Skies and WMU Will Help
October 11, 2012
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  • Aviation Administration wants Western Michigan University to be part of a new network of 12 universities working to enhance the safety and future of the nation’s general aviation sector.

    To lead off the effort, the FAA has established the Center for Excellence Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability–known as PEGASAS. The center will be led by Purdue University, Ohio State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Western Michigan University is an affiliate member along 10 other schools.

    Over the next decade, the Center for Excellence is expected unite the public and private sectors to create a consortium that will identify solutions for existing issues and address anticipated concerns.

    The FAA expects the center to perform various types of basic and applied research on general aviation topics through a variety of analyses and development and prototyping activities. The agency will invest a minimum of $500,000 per year in that research for each of the first five years of the effort.

    WMU’s contributions to the effort will likely revolve around its reputation and capabilities in such areas as crew and human factors research, flight safety and system safety management, says Dr. Raymond Thompson, associate dean of the College of Aviation.

    PEGASAS research areas will focus on general aviation safety, continued accessibility and sustainability. Research projects will include faculty and both undergraduate and graduate students.

    “This innovative partnership with academia and industry will help us take general aviation safety to the next level,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.