The Federal Aviation Administration has created several centers of excellence as a way to recognize universities and research facilities, such as NIAR, for their contributions to the industry. These centers create a formal structure for sharing ideas among government, industry and academia. Wichita State University is home to the FAA's Center of Excellence for Composites and Advanced Materials and the National Center for Advanced Materials Performance. NCAMP is sponsored by NASA and the U.S. Air Force.

NIAR’s centers promote the safety, research, manufacturing and design elements of today’s aviation industry. They strengthen airworthiness assurance in the short and long term. They make the concerns of the general aviation industry their own. And they make dreams of composite-made airplanes reality. This happens not only through NIAR’s own research, but through the exchange of knowledge with researchers in other centers.

The advancements made in these centers put Wichita State University in the top five U.S. universities specializing in aeronautical research and development.

Past WSU research centers have included the FAA's Center of Excellence for General Aviation Research (CGAR), the NIAR/Industry/State (NIS) program and the Advanced Design & Manufacturing Research Center (ADMRC).


Teamwork for UAS Excellence

The ASSURE team consists of 20 leading universities that offer unmatched research personnel, capabilities, facilities and capacity in more than 200 locations across 16 states and nine countries.

Wichita State University is a member of the new center known as the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), which will play a key role in helping the FAA develop rules regulating commercial unmanned aerial systems (UAS). ASSURE, which will be led by Mississippi State University, will provide the FAA and industry with research to maximize the potential of commercial unmanned systems with minimal changes to the current system regulating manned aircraft. 

Congress appropriated $5 million for the five-year agreement with the center, which will be matched one-for-one by the team members. The FAA expects the center will be able to begin research by September 2015 and be fully operational and engaged in a robust research agenda by January 2016.

Wichita State and its National Institute for Aviation Research have performed UAS research and testing in many areas, including low-speed aerodynamics testing for the Boeing Scan Eagle Compressed Carriage and the Raytheon Small Diameter Bomb; Full-Scale Structural static testing on the Boeing UCAS; and human factors evaluation of operator stations for General Atomics. Additional areas of expertise include material properties, susceptibility to environmental factors, computational analysis and advanced coatings applications.

This alliance features expertise across a broad spectrum of research areas, including:

  • Air traffic control interoperability
  • UAS airport ground operations
  • Command and control communications
  • Detect and avoid
  • Human factors
  • UAS noise reduction
  • UAS wake signatures
  • Unmanned Aircraft Pilot Training and Pilot Certification
  • Low altitude operations safety
  • Spectrum management
  • UAS traffic management

Additionally, the coalition features among its members:

  • Two FAA UAS test sites
  • Three FAA research centers
  • 5 airfields
  • 80+ UAS fleet

A coalition of multi-disciplinary partners working together to achieve exceptional results as unmanned aircraft systems take flight in the domestic airspace.

The Core Team is as follows:

The Affiliate Team is as follows:

ASSURE possesses the expertise, infrastructure and outstanding track record of success that the FAA Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems demands. To learn more, please contact:

Tom Aldag
Director of Research & Development
(316) 978-5326


Center of Excellence for Composites and Advanced Materials

CECAM logoThe Center of Excellence for Composites and Advanced Materials (CECAM) is a division of the FAA’s Joint Advanced Materials and Structure Center of Excellence, established in 2004 to assist in ensuring the safe and reliable application of composites and advanced materials to commercial aircraft. CECAM is headquartered at Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research. It is composed of universities with expertise in advanced materials including core members from Northwestern University, Purdue University, Tuskegee University, the University of Delaware, and the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of California at San Diego.

CECAM Mission

To provide the nation with a center for the validation and quality assurance of composites and advanced materials to be applied in the construction of aircraft through:

  • research, testing, certification, and technology transfer
  • coordination and cooperation with the FAA, aircraft manufacturers, materials suppliers, and airline companies
  • education of the aircraft manufacturing and maintenance workforces

FAA Sponsor: William J. Hughes Technical Center
Director: John Tomblin. Ph.D., National Institute for Aviation Research, Wichita State University
FAA COE CECAM Program Manager: Curtis Davies
Primary CECAM Technical Advisors: Allen Abramowitz, Curtis Davies, Lynn Pham

Current Projects

CACRC Depot Bonded Repair Investigation - Round Robin Testing, Lamia Salah, Ph.D., Wichita State University

Development of Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer (DMA) Calibration & Testing Procedures, Matt Opliger, Wichita State University

Characterization of the Vulnerability of Composite Aircraft, Waruna Seneviratne, Ph.D., Wichita State University

Damage Tolerance Testing and Analysis Protocols for Full-Scale Composite Airframe Structures under Repeated Loading, Waruna Seneviratne, Ph.D., Wichita State University

Environmental Factor Influence on Composite Design and Certification, : Environmental Factor Influence on Composite Design and Certification Certification by Analysis I and II / Composite Material Modeling, Juan Acosta, Wichita State University

Impact Damage Formation on Composite Aircraft Structures, Hyonny Kim, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego

Non-Destructive Evaluation Methods for Detecting Major Damage in Internal Composite Structural Components, Hyonny Kim, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego


NCAMP, the National Center for Advanced Materials Performance, works with the FAA and industry partners to qualify material systems and populate a shared materials database that can be viewed publicly. NCAMP started as a FAA-funded program within the National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University and stemmed from NASA's 1995 Advanced General Aviation Transport Experiment (AGATE).

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