As an expansion to a strategic partnership, Hawker Beechcraft Corp. will transfer the equipment and operations of its electromagnetic compatibility, mechanical and environmental test laboratories to the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University (WSU).
This is the second collaboration between NIAR and the company, signifying a unique university/industry relationship. NIAR currently leases space on the Hawker Beechcraft campus for its Aircraft Structural Testing and Evaluation Center (ASTEC). This agreement began in 2004 and has been highly successful, according to university officials.
“This collaboration is a great example of industry and academia working together to leverage our strengths,” said Ed Petkus, vice president, Hawker Beechcraft product development and engineering. “It will provide research opportunities and technical expertise that will grow Wichita’s aerospace knowledge base and expand our community’s technological leadership.”
“Not only will NIAR be able to perform the required testing for industry, but the facility will be a unique classroom for undergraduate and graduate students to achieve hands-on training,” said Gary Miller, WSU Provost. “NIAR will be able to offer these services on both the industry testing level, as well as the research level. This facility will place NIAR among the most unique university-based research facilities in the world.”
Through the new arrangement, NIAR will gain new testing capabilities, additional space and experienced staff. NIAR will operate facilities within two Hawker Beechcraft buildings on its main campus in Wichita, totaling 49,000 square feet. In order to maintain consistency within the laboratory, a number of Hawker Beechcraft employees working in the facility will be offered employment with WSU.
The facilities, named the Aircraft Environment Research and Testing Laboratory, will be used to conduct state-of-the-art testing and research for Hawker Beechcraft and the entire aerospace industry, as well as federal agencies. The new labs will have the capability to perform a variety of environmental tests, including electromagnetic effects, lightning effects, temperature and altitude, humidity, operational shock and vibration, salt spray, flammability and icing, and other specialized testing for aircraft safety assurance and certification.