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New center to study aircraft noise, emissions

MIT will lead a new partnership with members from academia, industry and government to identify solutions for present and future aircraft noise and emissions-related problems.

The Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Aircraft Noise and Aviation Emissions Mitigation, created by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration, will conduct basic research and engineering development and will develop prototype solutions.

The center's director is Associate Professor John-Paul Clarke; the principal investigator from MIT is Professor Ian Waitz (both of aeronautics and astronautics). Co-investigators at MIT are Professor Karen Polenske of urban studies and planning and Assistant Professor Karen Willcox of aero/astro.

The center will concentrate on a broad spectrum of noise and emissions mitigation issues, including socioeconomic effects, noise abatement flight procedures, compatible land-use management, airport operational controls, and atmospheric and health effects.

The other members from academia are Boise State University, Florida Inter-national University, Pennsylvania State Uni-versity, Purdue University, Stanford Uni-versity, the University of Central Florida and the University of Missouri at Rolla. There are 18 industry partners including Boeing, General Electric Aircraft Engines, Pratt & Whitney and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Congressional legislation enabled the FAA to work with universities and their industry partners to conduct research in airspace and airport planning and design, environment and aviation safety, as well as to engage in other activities to assure a safe and efficient air transportation system.

The FAA has established five other Centers of Excellence focusing on computational modeling of aircraft structures, airport pavement technology, operations research, airworthiness assurance and general aviation.

"The center brings the formidable resources of academia and industry together to make significant contributions in noise and emissions research. We look forward to working with these talented scientists throughout the country as we solve these critical issues," said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey.

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A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 1, 2003.

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