Aviation Research Division


The William J. Hughes Technical Center Aviation Research Division (ANG-E2) performs world-class research and development in aircraft safety, airport technology, and separations standards analysis. A safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible air transportation system is vital to our nation and global leadership. The Division's research products and technical solutions improve aviation safety and the efficiency of the National Airspace System.

Division Work

In collaboration with industry, academia, and other government partners, the Aviation Research Division performs research, analyses, and development to enable new technologies, procedures, and training methods that advance aviation technology, making the skies safer for us all. The highly technical and diverse workforce at the Technical Center uses more than 25 onsite, specialized aviation safety laboratories to perform their work. In full-scale facilities and state-of-the-art labs, researchers are working toward reducing fatalities and injuries, reducing aircraft losses, creating better designs, improving maintenance and inspection procedures, and enhancing the safety of operations at our nation's airports.


The Division comprises approximately 125 federal employees across five branches.

Fire Safety Branch

The Aircraft Fire Safety program performs research to protect aircraft occupants from the effects of fire through prevention or mitigation of in-flight fires, and improvement of survivability in the event of a post-crash fire. Research focus areas include cargo, propulsion and fuel systems, cabin interior fire protection, and advanced fire-resistant materials. Additional information on Aircraft Fire Safety research can be found at: https://www.fire.tc.faa.gov/.

Airport R&D Technology Branch

The Airport Technology program provides technical data and analyses to support, modify, or create new advisory circulars on all aspects of airport development. Research focus areas include planning and design for new large aircraft, airport equipment and construction, lighting and marking, pavement design and construction, runway safety, and wildlife hazard mitigation. Additional information on Airport Technology research can be found at: https://www.airporttech.tc.faa.gov/.

Software and Systems Branch

The Aircraft Software and Systems program performs research supporting aircraft safety technology development, continued enhancement of aircraft certification procedures and airworthiness standards, inspection and maintenance processes, and safety oversight. Research focus areas include flight control and mechanical systems, rotorcraft systems, digital system safety, system safety management, and terminal area safety.

Structures and Propulsion Branch

The Structures and Propulsion program performs research enabling new aircraft to be safer, more efficient, and environmentally cleaner, while allowing older aircraft to continue operating safely. Research focus areas include propulsion and fuel systems, advanced materials, structural safety, continued airworthiness/structural integrity, aircraft icing, and electrical systems.

Separation Standards Analysis Branch

The Separation Standards Analysis Branch develops mathematical models, safety assessments, and other materials descriptive of airspace operations to support major airspace changes and U.S. proposals to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) technical panels and regional groups. The Branch also conducts required safety monitoring of performance-based operations as delineated by international cooperative agreements and prepares continuous safety improvement documentation for routine airspace evaluations.

Last updated: Wednesday, June 14, 2023