Embry-Riddle, Boeing to open new safety research center

Boeing donated more than $5M to the university to create research hub

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – University leaders from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and executives from Boeing announced a new joint effort Thursday to improve safety for everyone who flies.

The aviation company donated $5.1 million to the university to create a new research hub dedicated to safety improvements in the aerospace and aviation industry.

“Runway incursions, runway excursions, SMS which incorporates risk management, turbulence injuries—that’s the most common form of injuries on airlines,” said Robert Sumwalt, executive director of the Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety at the university.

Sumwalt listed all of these aviation factors the new partners hope to tackle in their joint research center.

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“Loss of control in flight is the largest factor in general aviation and airline fatalities. If you’ve got a large number like this, if you focus on it, then you have the greatest potential to make safety improvements,” he said.

The school is turning the old fitness center into a research hub and inside, it will create new technology and research incidents, hopeful to get results out much quicker.

“What can we do to reduce that lag time so that we are more responsive, more nimble and able to meet those different threats that will arise?” said Dr. Kristy Kiernan, associate director of the Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety.

In a changing industry, with artificial intelligence and autonomy becoming more common, these industry and university leaders said there’s also a need for new training techniques and they’ll use this center to support the country’s aviation companies.

“We also have a more junior, less experienced workforce coming in partly due to just the increase in demand,” Kiernan said.

The university said the goal is to have it open by fall 2023.

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Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.