Rep. Marshall introduces Aeronautics Innovation Act

November 20, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. has long been a leader in the aerospace sector, and the state of Kansas has played a vital role in the industry’s development and long-term success. From manufacturing to innovation, aviation has been a backbone of the state’s economy and growth.

But other countries have begun making significant investments and are accelerating their research and development in the industry. Forecasts show the world’s demand for larger passenger aircraft will double over the next 20 years, generating thousands of new plane orders and investments in new aviation technology. This means the U.S. needs a clear vision and set of priorities in furthering its leadership in the field of long-term aeronautics research.

On Monday, Rep. Roger Marshall, M.D., and Rep. Haley Stevens, introduced the Aeronautics Innovation Act, HR 5136, to provide the necessary continuity and budget stability for U.S. aeronautics research through administration change and political shifts in Congress.

The legislation would strengthen the U.S. aviation industry and workforce in the increasingly competitive commercial aircraft market and establish a national policy for aeronautics research. It’s impact would go beyond traditional aviation and sustain exciting and innovate work being done in drone technology and application, which is expected to have an additional $3 billion economic impact on the state.

 “Kansas is known as the Air Capitol of the World, manufacturing up to 70 percent of the world’s embedded aircraft fleet while creating nearly 50,000 jobs and approximately $10 billion in economic output,” said Rep. Marshall. “Growing up outside Wichita, I was well aware of the impact and importance the aviation industry had on my state. The U.S. has been a world leader in aviation research and innovation, and it is vital to maintain that competitive advantage not only for continued economic growth but for national security, space, and science technologies.”

“Michigan was home to one of the first aerospace engineering programs in the country, which began shortly after the Wright Brothers’ historic flight in Kitty Hawk,” said Rep. Haley Stevens. “Today, Michigan’s aerospace supply chain consists of over 600 companies and organizations, powered by the highest concentration of engineers and manufacturing talent in the country. As Chairwoman of the Research and Technology Subcommittee, I know how important it is to continue investing in research and development to make our building materials stronger, lighter, more efficient and sustainable through innovative technologies such as composites manufacturing. The bipartisan Aeronautics Innovation Act will help us achieve these goals and maintain our leadership in the aerospace sector by establishing a national policy for aeronautics research.”

“We appreciate the leadership of Rep. Marshall and Rep. Stevens for introducing the House version of the Aeronautics Innovation Act that would authorize the NASA Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technology Program,” said Spirit AeroSystems Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer John Pilla. “Their bill supports efforts by the aerospace industry to drastically reduce the time and cost for design, technology development and certification of future composite aircraft. Authorizing an advanced materials program would build on the research conducted by NASA’s Advanced Composites Consortium and would create opportunities to leverage Spirit’s expertise industrializing composite materials.”

"We are grateful for the leadership of Rep. Marshall and Sen. Moran in supporting the advancement of aviation and the work we do at K-State Polytechnic to further the development of unmanned aircraft system technology," said Kansas State University President Richard Myers. "Their support will continue to ensure Kansas and the U.S. stay at the forefront in the research and development of advanced technologies for safe unmanned flight operations on a national and global scale."

“The Aeronautics Innovation Act will play a key role in economic growth in the United States and is essential to ensure our leadership in this technical area in the future,” said Dr. John Tomblin, Executive Director of the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University. “I applaud the leadership of Rep. Marshall and Rep. Stevens, as well as Sens. Moran and Warner for having the foresight to understand the impact aerospace sector plays. Investments such as these are key to maintaining the nation’s competitive advantage in aerospace technology.”

"The composites industry is thrilled about expanding growth opportunities in aerospace. These next generation structures will require the superior performance that composites are poised to provide. The Aeronautics Innovation Act will enable NASA and major aerospace manufacturers to collaborate directly with the entire composites supply chain - shaping future technologies that will ensure America remains the world leader in this sector," said Tom Dobbins, President and CEO of the American Composites Manufacturers Association. "Our members commend Rep. Marshall and Rep. Stevens for introducing this bill in the House. We look forward to working with them, as well as Sens. Moran and Warner, to see this vision through to enactment."

This is the companion bill to bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mark Warner (D-VA) in the U.S. Senate earlier this year.

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