Longtime Sandia Labs airline safety research center moving

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A decades-old program at Sandia National Laboratories that focused on new innovations in airplane inspection will be taking flight elsewhere.

The Albuquerque-based weapons research and development facility announced Tuesday that the Federal Aviation Administration Airworthiness Assurance Center will relocate to Wichita State University in Kansas.

The program will be part of the university’s National Institute of Aviation Research. Officials say the move follows structural shifts at both Sandia and the FAA.

Sandia Labs has operated the center for the FAA for 30 years.

Under the program, researchers worked alongside aircraft manufacturers, industry experts and regulatory agencies to enhance airplane inspection and maintenance systems. Priorities included expanding on ways to inspect aging airplanes.

Over the years, the center assisted with high-profile accident investigations for TWA Flight 800 and Swissair Flight 111.

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