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Congressman Davis Briefed on UTSI’s Proposed Flight Facility During Visit

Congressman Lincoln Davis got a glimpse of The University of Tennessee Space Institute’s expanding Aviation Systems program and heard details of a proposed new flight research facility during a recent visit to UTSI.

Donald C. Daniel, UT associate vice president and chief operating officer of the Institute, emphasized the need to replace the existing Flight Research Center at the Tullahoma airport.

“The present facility is too small,” Daniel said. “It lacks adequate space for storage of existing or additional aircraft, is insufficient for instrumentation and laboratories, and has insufficient office space for students and faculty.”

Daniel said UTSI “is pursuing funding support for the proposed facility via UT’s Capital Outlay process.” Several plans are being studied.

“We believe a new facility such as we envision would be a tremendous economic boost to this entire area,” Daniel said.

The northwest corner of the Tullahoma airport is an “ideal location” for a new facility, based on geography, road access, power and sewer availability, and room for growth,” Stephen Corda, chairman of UTSI’s Aviation Systems program, said during a presentation for the congressman.

Ninety-plus students are enrolled in the master’s degree program at 10 locations in the United States and Canada, Corda said, “and the number of students, staff, and faculty to support the growing flight research emphasis is growing.”

Corda described the Aviation Systems program as “a unique blend of aerospace engineering, aviation technology, flight science, and flight test engineering.”

Daniel hosted a luncheon for the congressman and his staff members during the Aug. 24 visit. Several Support Council members, including John Rampy, Joe Lester, and Ray Knowis, also attended the luncheon.

UTSI’s chief executive escorted the congressman on a tour of the administration building, introducing him to employees in the business office, library, and human resources offices.

Greg Sedrick, Program Chair of Engineering Management, showed the visitors around studios where they observed media specialist Mark Cross filming a lecture. While Congressman Davis was visiting in the business office, Robin Nee, accounting assistant, presented him with various mementos from the Space Institute.

According to Corda, UTSI Aviation Systems students are at Tullahoma, Huntsville, Ft. Rucker, Ala., Eglin, Fla., Patuxent River, Md., Nellis, Nev., China Lake, Edwards Air Force Base, and Point Mugu, Calif.