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Kansas State University

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Toward better aviation

Kurt Barnhart to lead new joint research center at Salina


K-State at Salina has formed a new center for applied aviation research and testing.

The K-State Applied Aviation Research Center will advance aerospace technology through application of research in propulsion, airframe, avionics and aviation training.

The center is a cooperative venture of K-State at Salina, the Salina Airport Authority and the Salina Chamber of Commerce. It will be under the leadership of Kurt Barnhart, professor and head of the department of aviation at K-State at Salina. Barnhart specializes in aviation safety and human factors research.

"K-State's Applied Aviation Research Center brings together government, business and academia to fill the void between futuristic development and the application of available technology to increase general aviation efficiency and safety," said Dennis Kuhlman, dean of K-State at Salina.

The center's projects and studies will deal with advancing aviation technology. Several areas will form the core of the center, including the application and testing of emerging technological improvements in propulsion systems, airframe systems, avionics and navigation for general aviation aircraft, and unmanned aerial systems. Related pilot and maintenance training programs also will be an essential element of the center.

Before joining K-State in July 2007, Barnhart was acting chair of Indiana State University's aerospace technology department, where he also has served in a teaching capacity since 1996.

He has been a Master Flight Instructor since 2003 and brings industrial experience from the airline industry and a major aviation engine manufacturer.

Barnhart has a bachelor's degree in aviation administration from Purdue University, a master's in business administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a doctorate in educational administration from Indiana State University.

He also has several flight and mechanic ratings, has received King Air and Citation advanced training from Flight Safety International, and has completed the Federal Aviation Administration's accident investigation course.


Photo: The Applied Aviation Research Center has formed under the leadership of Kurt Barnhart, head of the department of aviation at K-State at Salina. Barnhart joined K-State in July 2007.