Contributing Partners

The National Institute for Aviation Research receives 37 percent of its funding from research contracts with federal entitites including the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The State of Kansas also provides research funding through the Kansas Aviation Research & Technology Growth Initiative. This funding is used to develop resarch programs to benefit the Kansas aviation manufacturing industry.


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a primary supporter of NIAR and continues to show that though its designation of three Centers of Excellence. These centers include the FAA Center of Excellence for General Aviation, the FAA Airworthiness Assurance Center of Excellence and the Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Composites and Advanced Materials. Its support of these programs gives NIAR the ability to conduct a variety of research projects within its facility.

The recognition of these three centers of excellence is of great importance to NIAR. The Excellence in Aviation designation alone is a highly competitive, non-monetary award presented annually to individuals and/or institutions following an evaluation of documentation which clearly shows how their past research benefits the aviation community today.

Today, NIAR continues to set new records for their contributions to the aviation industry. NIAR's ability to partner with industry, academia and government has made it a model for cooperative aviation research in all of its 15 laboratories.

State of Kansas

The NIAR/Industry/State (NIS) research program was created by the Kansas State Legislature in 2004 to support the efforts of Kansas aviation manufacturing industry to compete in the global technological environment.</font></p>

While this research program is operated through NIAR, all research projects are identified and selected by an executive committee composed of representatives from The Boeing Company, Bombardier/Learjet, Cessna Aircraft Company, Hawker Beechcraft Corporation and Spirit AeroSystems. WSU’s associate vice president for research, the executive director of NIAR and the dean of the College of Engineering serve in a project management capacity.

In its first year, the program received $1 million in funding, which supported 10 research programs. The second (FY04) and third (FY05) were funded by the Kansas State Legislature in the amount of $2 million.


In 1994, the NASA Advanced General Aviation Transport Experiment (AGATE) program was established to help revitalize the general aviation industry. The primary goal of the eight-year program was to revitalize General Aviation in the U.S., including all non-government and non-commercial aircraft.

Included in this challenge was the creation of a Small Aviation Transportation System (SATS) that would replace short-automobile trips for both private and business transportation needs. In this regards, the team’s goal was to create a safer aircraft and more efficient flight systems for the next generation of single-engine/single-pilot airplanes.

At the end of the project, the AGATE Alliance team was awarded the “Turning Goals into Reality Award.” More than 70 industry partners, researchers from several universities and federal researchers from NASA and the FAA participated in the program. Many NIAR laboratories contributed to the research effort, including Structures, Composites and Advanced Materials, Crash Dynamics and Aircraft Icing.

NIAR’s National Center for Advanced Materials Performance (NCAMP) also plays a role in NASA’s goal of developing a cost-effective way of qualifying composite materials by sharing central material qualification databases. The Military Handbook 17 is one of the databases formed through the AGATE program. Through these shared databases, a manufacturer can select an approved composite material system to fabricate parts and perform a smaller subset of testing to a specific application.

Wichita State University
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