Prof. Ian A. Waitz, Head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT, and director of PARTNER
Thu 14 Feb 2008 – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has presented its 2007 ‘Excellence in Aviation Research Awards’ to Prof. Ian A. Waitz of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), for his expertise on noise and emissions, and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) B52 Aircraft Fischer-Tropsch Fuels Research Team for their work on synthetic fuels.
Waitz is the MIT Jerome C. Hunsaker professor of aeronautics and astronautics, and directs the Partnership for AiR Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction (PARTNER), a FAA/NASA/Transport Canada-sponsored Center of Excellence. His key area of research is modelling and evaluating the climate, local air quality and noise impacts of aviation, including assessing options to mitigate these impacts.
He 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 USAF research team is the first in the Air Force to certify a synthetic fuel blend for its B-52 fleet. The Fischer-Tropsch process for synthesizing fuel is expected to both save millions of dollars and reduce the dependence on foreign oil. Also, B-52 tests have shown a reduction in exhaust smoke and particulate emissions. The team’s research has been applied to the C-17 and other aircraft with a goal of total USAF fleet certification to use these fuel blends.
The team has also worked closely with the commercial aviation sector and supports the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuel Initiative (CAAFI). Procedures and data for qualifying the C-17, which uses commercially derived turbofans, could be applied to certify alternative fuels for civil aviation.
“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.”
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