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FAA Shutdown Stops Research at Florida Aviation School

Thursday, August 04, 2011 - 12:19 PM

Entrance to Embry Riddle (photo by Aerojimmy via Wikimedia Commons)

(Orlando -- WMFE) The Federal Aviation Administration’s partial shutdown is impacting projects beyond just airports.  Embry Riddle University in Daytona Beach has two contracts that have been put on hold -- and several of their staff members are affected.

One is a $20 million dollar project related to general aviation research. The other is a $245,000 contract that covers several projects, including research on the NextGen air traffic control system and helping small aircraft pilots get better weather information.

Embry Riddle spokesman Robert Ross says the $20 million dollar contract is split among research programs at several schools across the U.S. and is distributed by an FAA project called the Center of Excellence for General Aviation Research -- or CEGAR, which is headed up by Embry Riddle.  It includes projects like a $1 million dollar effort to create a GPS-based system to allow airplanes to see each other in real time while flying.

Ross said about 10 people at Embry Riddle and other universities conducting research through CEGAR are affected by the furlough of the FAA’s monitors and grant reviewers. Some Embry Riddle research is monitored by FAA staff who oversee contracts, so those projects are on hold until federal funding comes through.  Ross also pointed out that the university's FAA grant seeking is on hold --  faculty researchers at the aviation school can’t submit proposals to the agency for research funding because of the federal furlough.

The FAA’s funding expired on July 22nd.  FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says stopped  projects won’t restart till Congress passes -- and the president signs -- an extension of the FAA reauthorization bill.

For more TN coverage on the FAA shutdown, go here.

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