NIAR Timeline - Aviation research, design, testing, certification


Aerospace Engineering Professor Alexander Petroff and his students, Dwayne L. Wallace, Jerry Gerteis and Tom Stalter, construct the first wind tunnel at the University of Wichita.


A 7 x 10 ft. subsonic wind tunnel is built by the Wichita State University College of Engineering under the supervision of Ken Razak.


The wind tunnel is dedicated as the Walter H. Beech Memorial Wind Tunnel.


The Institute for Aviation Research is established at Wichita State University. Labs include Aerodynamics, Composites, Crash Dynamics, Human Factors, Aircraft Icing, Structures, Propulsion, CAD/CAM and the Research Machine Shop.


NIAR receives federal funds to expand research support to the aviation industry.


The Institute is designated as a Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation Center of Excellence.


Construction of the 74,000 square foot research facility housing the Institute is completed and is dedicated on April 30 the following year.


The Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center is established as a part of the Institute.


The Computational Mechanics Laboratory is established.


NIAR joins the NASA Advanced General Aviation Transport Experiments (AGATE) program.


The Institute formally establishes the Aircraft Design and Manufacturing Research Center (ADMRC).


NIAR is designated an FAA Airworthiness Assurance Center of Excellence (AACE).



The Mechatronics Laboratory is established.

The Institute formally establishes the Manufacturing Innovation and Development Initiative (MIND) in Aviation.


NIAR initiates a statewide partnership to launch the Kansas Small Aircraft Transportation System (KSATS) program supported by NASA.


The Landing Gear Drop Tower Laboratory is created.



FAA awards NIAR the Excellence in Aviation institutional award.

NIAR is designated as a core member of the FAA Center for General Aviation Research (CGAR).

The Virtual Reality Center and the Visual Technology Laboratory are established.



The Aging Aircraft Laboratory and the Ergonomics Laboratory are established.



The Fatigue and Fracture Laboratory is established.

The Walter H. Beech Memorial Wind Tunnel undergoes a $6 million upgrade.

FAA designates NIAR as the lead institution for the Center of Excellence for Composites and Advanced Materials (CECAM).



NIAR creates the National Center for Advanced Materials Performance (NCAMP).

The Crash Dynamics Laboratory undergoes modernization, including a $3 million acceleration sled.



NIAR gains the full-scale structural testing facility at Raytheon Aircraft Co. It is established as the Aircraft Structural Testing and Evaluation Center (ASTEC).

The Advanced Joining & Processing Laboratory is established.



NIAR’s research efforts catapult WSU to a No. 4 ranking by the National Science Foundation among all U.S. universities in aeronautical research and development. WSU was previously ranked No. 7.


The Advanced Joining & Processing Lab receives a grant from the National Science Foundation to become part of its Center for Friction Stir Processing (CFSP).


The Calibration & Quality Laboratory is established.



The first two Environmental Testing Laboratories, the Susceptibility Test Lab and Indirect Lightning Test Lab, open for their first clients.


NIAR gains 14,000 square feet of additional research space in a new building located north of NIAR’s main facility. The building will house additional environmental testing equipment, the machine shop for the Composites Lab, an ASTM lab and 23 MTS load frames for the Structures and Fatigue and Fracture Labs.



WSU ranks third among all U.S. universities in aerospace engineering research and development, according to National Science Foundation data, improving its fourth place ranking.

Wichita State University
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