Senator Warner is Pushing for Expanded Aeronautics Research

Jun 13, 2019

Credit AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Is America falling behind the rest of the world in aeronautics? Senator Mark Warner fears that might be happening, and now he’s working with Republicans in Congress to help fund new research capabilities.

Flight testing is an art and a science.

“When you design what we call a paper airplane,” explains Pradeep Raj, a professor of aeronautics at Virginia Tech. "So you have a design that you can look at on your screen, for example and say, ‘OK, it looks nice’. But how do you know that it is actually going to work?”

That’s the question Senator Mark Warner wants NASA to answer. So, he’s pushing an effort in Congress to study the problems of flight. The idea is to create new research capabilities for aviation systems, advanced air vehicles and airspace operations. Warner is concerned other countries are pulling ahead.

“In many ways that American leadership is now up for grabs as we see other nations, particularly China, make massive amounts of investments in cutting edge technology,” Warner says.

Warner is working on the bill along with Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, a key member of the Appropriations Committee – where he might be able to help finance the potential $1 billion investment to NASA every year by 2024.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.