A subcommittee of a House committee chaired by U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas intends to hold a hearing this week exploring the Federal Aviation Administration’s research and development, some of which is carried on at the FAA’s Mike Monroney Center in Oklahoma City.
The Space and Aeronautics subcommittee chaired by Rep. Brian Babin has jurisdiction over civil aviation research and development and will hold the hearing on Thursday.
The FAA funds R&D in three budgetary accounts: Research, Engineering, and Development (RE&D), Facilities and Equipment (F&E), and the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). FAA RE&D activities in these accounts ensure the continued capacity, safety, and efficiency of aerospace in the United States.
The work authorized by the Science Committee in the FAA R&D title is critical to improving aircraft safety and accelerating the development, adoption, and integration of new technologies. The hearing will focus on a number of issues that will be addressed in the reauthorization:
The need to focus R&D efforts on enhanced aviation safety.
The Committee will focus on how the FAA is prioritizing safety in its overall research portfolio.
The implementation of the previous R&D authorization.
The last FAA reauthorization bill included a number of provisions to consolidate, streamline, and more strategically and comprehensively address research activities at FAA. The hearing is an opportunity to examine the FAA’s progress towards implementing the previous FAA reauthorization.
Third, the need for greater efforts to support Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Unmanned aerial vehicles and drones are becoming more and more crucial for emergency response efforts, homeland security, and infrastructure services. The U.S. is lagging far behind China on the development of UAS and we need to prioritize research into these technologies to bolster our economy.
Three witnesses are scheduled to testify at the March 9 10 a.m. hearing. They are:
- Ms. Shelley Yak, Director, FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center
- Dr. R. John Hansman, Director, International Center for Air Transportation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Mr. Eric Cunningham, Vice President, Electric Power Systems, Collins Aerospace