Success Story

FAA Technical Center Collaborates to Shape the Future of Aviation in South Jersey

FAA National Aviation Research and Technology Park

Shelley Yak, Director, FAA Technical Center (2nd from left), Chris Brown, state senator (4th from left), Philip D. Murphy, New Jersey governor (center), Dennis Levinson, Atlantic County Executive (2nd from right), and NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney (far right) cut the ribbon to the National Aviation Research and Technology Park. Photo Courtesy of FAA

The FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center’s newest laboratory, located in the National Aviation Research and Technology Park (NARTP), exemplifies a technology transfer partnership success story. The NARTP is an auxiliary organization of Stockton University that establishes high-technology aviation facilities and provides opportunities to promote aviation-related applications.

The FAA worked together with the NARTP, the Atlantic County government, the State of New Jersey Economic Development Agency and several nonprofit entities to bring this laboratory to fruition. This new facility positions Atlantic County and the state of New Jersey to impact the future of aviation through innovation, research, development, testing, evaluation, and the transfer and commercialization of cutting-edge global aviation technologies.

“The construction of the first of seven buildings was made possible through focused efforts, willing partners, dedicated individuals, and good timing,” said Technical Center Director Shelley Yak.

The FAA laboratory will:

  • Serve with other FAA labs as a foundation for Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, and for the transfer of technologies and intellectual property to the marketplace.
  • Support research in the areas of artificial intelligence, autonomy, SMART airports, data analytics and as-yet-unimagined aviation innovation.
  • Promote Aviation Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (AvSTEM).
  • Foster innovation and facilitate implementation of SMART airport technologies at the Atlantic City International Airport.

This new laboratory will use the Agency and the NARTP resources (people and labs) to further capitalize on new as well as existing partnerships with academia to grow the future aviation workforce. Atlantic Cape Community College, Stockton University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University, and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University are already onboard.

The FAA’s laboratory will also:

  • Provide internships.
  • Support AvSTEM studies to students ranging from elementary school to college.
  • Foster education and job programs.
  • Facilitate collaboration between small companies and the FAA.

This regional investment started with a vision when the FAA Technical Center began seeing a convergence of trends towards public-private partnerships, fiscal reallocation, innovation, and information technology. The aviation research community determined then that to maintain global prominence in aviation research and innovation, the FAA, industry and academia needed to work together.

To make this laboratory a reality, the FAA leased 58 acres to the NARTP, and the Atlantic County Improvement Authority financed, constructed and now operates the building. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said the project shows how the state will lead in the aviation innovation economy. New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney said Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson’s leadership in championing the construction of the Park made “all the difference.”

The ribbon cutting of this new laboratory caps a decades-long quest to develop an aviation hub near the Technical Center and the airport. The successful effort can be attributed in part to the FAA’s leadership and progressive thinking.

The future of aviation begins here at the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center’s newest laboratory with the end goal of commercializing research and technology products.