The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded a potential seven-year, $24 million contract to a University of Maryland-led consortium that conducts research into operational issues facing the government and commercial aviation sectors.
The award marks the second renewal of agency funding to support the mission of the National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research and comes at a time when critical upheavals in air travel are emerging and looming on the horizon. following the COVID-19 pandemic, Robert H. Smith School of Business said Thursday.
UMD professors Michael Ball and David Lovell will lead the university’s efforts for NEXTOR III, the aviation operations research consortium made up of eight universities.
“Obviously COVID-19 has already had a huge impact on aviation,” Ball said. “The pandemic will cause fundamental changes in air travel.”
NEXTOR began as one of five Centers of Excellence created by the FAA to lead the aviation community in promoting new ideas and paradigms for flight operations, education, and training of aviation professionals. aviation and promoting knowledge transfer between industry, government and academic leaders.
The NEXTOR team’s fundamental research, modeling, and investment analysis have served the needs of the National Airspace System (NAS) on a wide range of aviation operational issues and fostered increased dialogue between the FAA and the airline industry.
The program encompassed research on air traffic management and control; safety data analysis; aviation economics and policy; human factors; communication, collection and distribution of data; and system performance assessment and evaluation measures.
NEXTOR’s decision support tools, operational and system concepts, and policy development tools have had a substantial impact on the practice of aviation. The results of his research were incorporated into FAA systems and improved NAS performance.
The improvements to the FAA and the airline industry brought about by NEXTOR research ultimately benefit the traveling public. “We are a source of quality technical research that addresses all three of these perspectives,” Lovell noted.