Wichita aviation lab plans major facilities expansion

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The National Institute for Aviation Research is expanding its testing laboratories in Wichita.

The Wichita Eagle reports that the aviation lab has ent agreement to lease 35,000 square feet of space in buildings that were abandoned by Boeing. Officials from Wichita State University, which the lab is a part of, made the announcement Thursday.

The institute plans to relocate its Environmental Test and Electromagnetic Effects Lab to the new space next month, according to institute executive director John Tomblin.

Wichita developer Johnny Stevens is part of the group that will lease the property to the university. Stevens and other developers believe that the deal may help lure airplane modification companies to Wichita since it will become one of the few places in the world where full electromagnetic testing can be done on an entire aircraft.

We’ve been working every day trying to bring new companies into the area here,” Stevens said. “We haven’t landed a big bird yet, but we are working at it…. So having NIAR out there is a big deal.”

“We’ll now not only have the space to do it but the equipment; so we’ll be able to fly any big aircraft into McConnell Air Force Base now, and roll it up to this lab and have what we call full aircraft threat electromagnetic testing,” Tomblin said.

A university official said that the lab may also be able to do testing on large commercial and military aircraft.

The institute currently does not have any military testing contracts, but now they will have the capability to apply for those contracts, according to Tomblin.



Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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