Boeing Donates $5.1M for ERAU Safety Research Center

 - March 31, 2023, 11:25 AM
A Boeing donation will help ERAU's aviation safety center expand its research efforts in areas of operational risk. (Rendering: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University)

Boeing has donated $5.1 million to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for a research center at its Daytona Beach, Florida campus. The center, headed up by former National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt, will explore safety improvements throughout the industry.

Named the Boeing Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety at Embry-Riddle, the facility will be used for research involving operational safety risk, encompassing topics such as data analytics to predict and potentially prevent safety incidents; runway safety; safety management systems; risk management; and the integration of new entrants into the global airspace system, among others.

“By its nature, aviation is self-correcting in that we must continuously apply lessons learned to keep all who fly as safe as possible,” said Embry-Riddle president P. Barry Butler. “The Boeing Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety at Embry-Riddle will provide an infrastructure for systematically investigating and reducing safety risks, from technological challenges to human factors.”

Embry-Riddle will house the center in a 13,000-sq-ft building that is undergoing renovation. Slated to open in January 2024, the building will be equipped with both office and lab space, as well as dedicated classrooms.

The center is designed to foster collaboration across academia, industry, and government entities and establish research partnerships. Findings will be shared with the broader aviation community to advance safety.

“By forging partnerships with industry and government, the center will leverage Embry-Riddle's faculty of more than 1,300 aviation and aerospace experts to address urgent safety challenges,” said Sumwalt, who is executive director of the center.

Kristy Kiernan, program coordinator for the master of science in aviation safety at Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus and an associate professor in the department of aeronautics for graduate studies, is helping Sumwalt lead the center. An industry advisory board is also directing, reviewing, and ensuring the relevance and integrity of the center’s activities.