For Immediate Release

February 12, 2008
Contact: Holly Baker
Phone: (609) 485-6253

The Federal Aviation is presenting its 2007 Excellence in Aviation Research Awards to Professor Ian A. Waitz, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the United States Air Force B-52 Aircraft Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) Fuels Research Team.

“Aviation needs to continue to get greener,” said Dan Elwell, FAA’s Assistant Administrator for Policy, Planning and Environment, “and this award goes to people who are making it happen. Dr. Waitz and the Air Force team are taking the steps to put a big dent in aviation’s environmental footprint. Their work is going to make a difference across the face of our entire planet.”

Waitz is the MIT Jerome C. Hunsaker professor of aeronautics and astronautics, and has just been named head of that department. He directs the Partnership for AiR Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction (PARTNER), a FAA/NASA/Transport Canada-sponsored Center of Excellence. His key area of expertise is modeling and evaluating climate, local air quality and noise impacts of aviation, including assessing options to mitigate these impacts.

Waitz has written 70 technical publications, including PARTNER’s 2005 landmark report to the U.S. Congress, "Aviation and the Environment: A National Vision Statement, Framework for Goals and Recommended Actions." He holds three patents, and has consulted for many national and international organizations. The renowned environmental research leader has fostered the understanding of emissions and technical noise aspects. His work has produced sophisticated tools that quantify the complex relationships of noise emission impacts, enabling decision-makers to base policy and regulation on robust, hard data.

The United States Air Force B-52 Aircraft Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) Fuels Research Team makes history as the first in the Air Force to certify a synthetic fuel blend for its B-52 Fleet. The F-T process for synthesizing fuel could decrease our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. Also, B-52 tests of the F-T blended fuel have shown reduced exhaust smoke and particulate emissions. The data gathered from these tests will be leveraged by aircraft system managers to accelerate their F-T/JP-8 fuel blend certification process, saving millions of dollars. The B-52 F-T team procedures and methodology have been proven sound by independent review, and will be used on the C-17 and other aircraft with a goal of total Air Force fleet certification to use F-T fuel blends.

The team also has worked closely with the commercial aviation community, and supports the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuel Initiative. Qualifying the C-17, which uses commercially derived turbofans, will provide valuable data for the certification of alternative fuels for civil aviation.

This is the 10th year that the prestigious Excellence in Aviation Research Award has been presented. The awards are given annually to individuals and/or institutions outside the FAA whose research contributions have resulted in a significantly safer, more efficient national airspace system.