For release: July 29, 1995
NASA Langley Public Affairs
NASA Langley Public Affairs
414-235-5424/5438 (at Oshkosh July 27-Aug. 1)
RELEASE NO. 95-070
NASA Forms Partnership To Revitalize General Aviation
Two years of government-industry cooperation has resulted in the
formation of a unique partnership to revitalize the U.S. general
The Advanced General Aviation Transport Experiments (AGATE) consortium was
formally established in a signing ceremony today at Oshkosh, Wisc.
Participating were NASA, the FAA and industry consortium members.
Universities and nonprofit organizations also make up AGATE, one of
the larger member consortia of any kind in the U.S.
The purpose of AGATE is to enable market growth for inter-city
transportation in small aircraft. AGATE members share resources and
risks to make the market "pie" bigger for everyone. Members are
committed to developing safer aircraft and more efficient flight
systems to improve pilot training and operations in and near
This joint government-industry effort is the outgrowth of a
meeting between NASA administrator Daniel S. Goldin and several
industry members at the Experimental Aircraft Association
Convention in Oshkosh, Wisc. in 1992, spurred in large part by the
Clinton Administration and Congress' commitment to "reinventing
government." The consortium operates under a unique Space Act
process called the Joint Sponsored Research Agreement (JSRA).
Research conducted under a JSRA eliminates many of the burdensome
and time-consuming operations of federal acquisition regulations.
Early AGATE results have been impressive in this regard.
The consortium represents a new blueprint to map out
this revitalization, according to Dr. Bruce A. Holmes, AGATE's
first director and head of NASA's General Aviation Office at NASA
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. Of AGATE, Holmes said, "It
offers industry the ability to work together to undertake tasks of
higher risk, with higher payoff, faster speed of technology
transfer, control of proprietary and shared technologies, reduced
costs and more efficient use of research and development
The agreement is a product of several years of investigation and
development by the American Technology Initiative, Inc. (AmTech) of
Menlo Park, Calif., a NASA-sponsored, public-benefit, non-profit
corporation that facilitates public-private research and
Of the more than 60 consortium members, 31 are companies having
total annual revenues of more than $25 billion and 250,000
employees. Consortium members' general aviation output generates $5
billion per year and employs 53,000 people. One purpose of AGATE is
to increase revenue and create new jobs in manufacturing, sales,
training, service, support and operations industries throughout the
nation's small airport infrastructure.
General Aviationdefined as all flying except the military
services and commercial airlineshas fallen from its economic
heights in the late 1970's to record lows due to outdated
technologies, regulatory restrictions, liability burdens and
The AGATE program targets technologies for new operating
capabilities in small aircraft including improved bad weather
flight systems; emergency avoidance systems that support
decision-making; night and low visibility terrain-following
systems; traffic avoidance systems; and systems that ease the
flight-planning workload, minimize the danger of injuries, and
improve comfort, performance and efficiency.
NASA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program
provides substantial support for the general aviation industry.
More than $8 million in contracts have been awarded in 1993 and
1994 to small general aviation companies. Most of these companies
have chosen to join the AGATE consortium to leverage their SBIR
efforts with other companies.
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