(Anton et al., 2004; Kegelman, 2006; NRC, 1994, 2004). These reports have identified critical issues associated with the capabilities, funding, and use of national aeronautical test facilities, many of which have yet to be resolved.


The steering committee offers eight recommendations:

  1. NASA should use the 51 Challenges listed in Table 5-1 as the foundation for the future of NASA’s civil aeronautics research program during the next decade.

  2. The U.S. government should place a high priority on establishing a stable aeronautics R&T plan, with the expectation that the plan will receive sustained funding for a decade or more, as necessary, for activities that are demonstrating satisfactory progress.

  3. NASA should use five Common Themes to make the most efficient use of civil aeronautics R&T resources:3

    • Physics-based analysis tools

    • Multidisciplinary design tools

    • Advanced configurations

    • Intelligent and adaptive systems

    • Complex interactive systems

  1. NASA should support fundamental research to create the foundations for practical certification standards for new technologies.

  2. The U.S. government should align organizational responsibilities as well as develop and implement techniques to improve change management for federal agencies and to assure a safe and cost-effective transition to the air transportation system of the future.

  3. NASA should ensure that its civil aeronautics R&T plan features the substantive involvement of universities and industry, including a more balanced allocation of funding between in-house and external organizations than currently exists.

  4. NASA should consult with non-NASA researchers to identify the most effective facilities and tools applicable to key aeronautics R&T projects and should facilitate collaborative research to ensure that each project has access to the most appropriate research capabilities, including test facilities; computational models and facilities; and intellectual capital, available from NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Defense, and other interested research organizations in government, industry, and academia.

  5. The U.S. government should conduct a high-level review of organizational options for ensuring U.S. leadership in civil aeronautics.


Anton, P.S., E.C. Gritton, R. Mesic, and P. Steinberg. 2004. Wind Tunnel and Propulsion Test Facilities: An Assessment of NASA’s Capabilities to Serve National Needs. Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation. Available online at <http://ntrs.nasa.gov/index.cgi?method=ordering&oaiID=oai:casi.ntrs.nasa.gov:20050199428>.

Kegelman, J. 2006. Wind Tunnel Enterprise. NASA Langley Research Center. Available online at <http://windtunnels.larc.nasa.gov/enterprise.htm>.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 2000. Ultra Efficient Engine Technology Program. Home and Home Visit Series. Glenn Research Center, April 4-5. Available online at <www.aero-space.nasa.gov/events/home&home/glenn/ueet/sld004.htm>.

NASA. 2006. ARMD [Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate] Requests for Information (RFI) Questions and Answers. Available online at <www.aero-space.nasa.gov/rfi_qa.htm>.

National Research Council (NRC). 1994. Aeronautical Facilities: Assessing the National Plan for Aeronautical Ground Test Facilities. Washing-ton, D.C.: National Academy Press. Available online at <http://fermat.nap.edu/catalog/9088.html>.

NRC. 2004. Investments in Federal Facilities: Asset Management Strategies for the 21st Century. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. Available online at <http://fermat.nap.edu/catalog/11012.html>.

Wlezien, R. 2006a. NASA’s Fundamental Research Program. Presentation to 44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, Reno, Nev., January 12. Available online at <www.aero-space.nasa.gov/reno_presentations.htm>.

Wlezien, R. 2006b. NASA’s Fundamental Research Program. Remarks made during presentation to 44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, Reno, Nev., January 12. Available online at <www.streammercials.com/aiaa/player.htm>.


The Common Themes are defined in Chapter 4.

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