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NASA Selects Awardees for New Aviation Maintenance Challenge


Image collage of an Amp meter with puzzle pieces layed on top with an airplane.
NASA is addressing a key challenge for sustaining the future of aviation – the skills that will be needed by aviation maintenance technicians working on new kinds of aircraft with new technologies.
NASA / Lillian Gipson / Getty Images

NASA has selected three university-led teams for the first round of a new technical challenge pursuing innovative aviation maintenance practices.

These university teams will receive funding from NASA for a two-year research term exploring aviation maintenance challenges related to NASA’s strategic vision for aeronautics.

The awardees will research new maintenance techniques and procedures, as well as how aviation maintenance technical schools could amend or expand their activities to educate students on these new practices.

Their work will culminate in a final report outlining potential solutions for future aviation maintenance including new educational curricula, new standards and technologies, and other anticipated challenges associated with new types of aircraft such as drones, air taxis, or ultra-efficient airliners.

In the spirit of similar NASA awards, the university teams will engage students from multiple levels and include them in meaningful work and research. Not only will graduate and undergraduate students be included, but also students at aviation maintenance technical schools.

Each awardee must also collaborate with industry partners to best understand the needs of the aviation industry and maintenance ecosystem, as well as work with real-world technology.

“This new award expands NASA’s university research partnerships,” said Koushik Datta, manager for the University Innovation project overseeing the awards. “Now even more students, including those from aviation maintenance schools, can participate in NASA’s aeronautics research.”

The three teams and their topics are:

Clemson University

“Revolutionizing the Future of Aviation Maintenance: A Workforce Development Plan to Navigate the Complexities of a New Aviation Maintenance Ecosystem”

University of California, Davis

“Future Aviation Maintenance Technical Challenges for Electric and Hybrid-Powered Fixed Wing and Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing Aircraft”

Wichita State University

“Adoption of Transformative Technologies and Workforce Development for Maintenance and Repair of Advanced Air Mobility Airframe Structures”

Complete details on this award and other solicitations, such as what to include in a proposal and how to submit it, can be found on the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate solicitations page.

About the Author

John Gould

John Gould

Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate

John Gould is a member of NASA Aeronautics' Strategic Communications team at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. He is dedicated to public service and NASA’s leading role in scientific exploration. Prior to working for NASA Aeronautics, he was a spaceflight historian and writer, having a lifelong passion for space and aviation.