For Immediate Release

June 1, 2006
Contact: Holly Baker
Phone: (609) 485-6253

EGG HARBOR TWP., N.J. — Constantine “Gus” Sarkos, manager of the FAA’s Fire Safety Branch at the William J. Hughes Technical Center, has won the 2006 Distinguished Engineer Award from the Engineering Society of the Rutgers University Alumni. 

Sarkos received this prestigious honor for his outstanding, long-time contributions to improving fire safety in commercial and military transport airplanes.

Sarkos leads the group that conducts the FAA’s aircraft fire safety research and development (R&D) program.  They have been instrumental in developing fire safety products and new test standards that have made flying safer for the American public and worldwide. These products have saved many lives by providing additional time for passengers to exit a plane safely, by the slowing the fire and smoke that may follow a crash, and by preventing accidents caused by in-flight fire. 

Practically every fire safety improvement mandated by FAA over the past 20 years is a product of the fire safety R&D program.  The most recent examples of the group’s innovative work have resulted in: new, more stringent fire test standards for thermal acoustic insulation; the development of a simple, cost effective fuel tank inerting system, which enabled the FAA to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to prevent fuel tank explosions; and the retrofit of the U.S. airline fleet with cargo compartment fire detection/suppression systems (3400 aircraft were retrofitted).

Sarkos has authored more than 60 reports and papers related to aircraft fire safety, and he has lectured on the subject at 75 technical meetings.

His outstanding work has earned him 31 awards, during his 36-year FAA career.

These include: the Distinguished Technical Center Employee of the Year, the Department of Transportation Secretary’s Award for Meritorious Achievement and induction into the U.S. Space Foundation/NASA Hall of Fame.

Sarkos holds master’s and bachelor’s of science degrees in mechanical engineering from the Rutgers University School of Engineering.