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National Institute for Aviation Research Gains Full-Scale Aircraft Structural Fatigue Test Lab

30 September 2004

The National Institute for Aviation Research is expanding the reach of its global aerospace R&D laboratory with the addition of substantial full-scale aircraft structural fatigue testing facilities from a major aviation manufacturer.

The National Institute for Aviation Research will provide proprietary full-scale aircraft fatigue testing services for the entire aviation industry from facilities obtained from Raytheon Aircraft Company and located at its manufacturing campus in Wichita, Kan. The new operation will be called the Aircraft Structural Testing and Evaluation Center.

Raytheon Aircraft is the Institute’s launch customer for the additional facility. The laboratory will provide structural testing for Raytheon Aircraft’s entire product range, including static and fatigue testing of the Hawker Horizon composite fuselage.

“With these additional substantial testing facilities, the National Institute for Aviation Research strengthens its structural testing lab capabilities so we can now offer expanded services to the leading aviation manufacturers and designers from around the world who utilize our qualified research team,” said John Tomblin, executive director of the National Institute for Aviation Research.

“I appreciate Raytheon Aircraft’s enterprising approach to achieving full utilization of these aerospace testing facilities while fortifying the R&D capabilities of the institute,” he added. “The National Institute for Aviation Research has performed laboratory research for many distinguished aerospace manufacturers, aircraft designers and government agencies, and these added facilities and equipment will permit our business to grow even further,” Dr. Tomblin said.

Dr Tomblin told NetComposites that “the R&D laboratory is one of the few laboratories in the world commanding experience in full-scale composite testing – the employee of the laboratory also completed testing of the Beechcraft Starship and Premier I, both composite aircraft.”

Included in the structural fatigue testing lab facilities are 46,000 square feet of hangar space, access to an 8,000-foot runway, approximately $10 million in reliable test facilities and numerous skilled technicians to operate the equipment. The Institute will relocate its Aging Aircraft Research Laboratory to the new fatigue test facility.

This adds substantial capacity to existing National Institute for Aviation Research facilities, which already encompass a 74,000 square foot laboratory complex and a talented workforce of more than 200, including 130 qualified staff members and associates who have undergraduate and post graduate degrees in aerospace and engineering related disciplines.





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