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H.R. 970 (112th): Federal Aviation Research and Development Reauthorization Act of 2011

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Apr 4, 2011.

Title X: Federal Aviation Research and Development Reauthorization Act of 2011 - Federal Aviation Research and Development Reauthorization Act of 2011 - (Sec. 1003) Authorizes appropriations for FY2011-FY2014 for civil aviation research and development, including specified research, engineering, and development projects.

(Sec. 1004) Requires the FAA Administrator to conduct or supervise specified research to develop technologies and methods to assess the risk of and prevent defects, failures, and malfunctions in all classes of drones.

(Sec. 1005) Directs the FAA Administrator to conduct research on: (1) improved runway surfaces as well as engineered material restraining systems for such runways at both general aviation and commercial airports, and (2) methods and procedures to improve certification of new technologies for introduction into the national airspace system.

(Sec. 1007) Converts the airport cooperative research program from a four-year pilot into a permanent program.

(Sec. 1008) Authorizes the FAA Administrator to increase the federal share of costs of operating regional centers of air transportation excellence and related research activities from a maximum of 50% to a maximum of 75% for any fiscal year if a center is unable to carry out authorized activities without additional funding.

(Sec. 1009) Authorizes the FAA Administrator to establish a center of excellence for aviation human resource research on: (1) human performance in the air transportation environment, including air traffic controllers, pilots, and technicians; and (2) any other aviation human resource issues pertinent to developing and maintaining a safe and efficient air transportation system.

(Sec. 1010) Authorizes the FAA Administrator, in coordination with the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to: (1) maintain a research program to assess the potential effect of aviation on the environment and, if warranted, to evaluate approaches to address such effect; and (2) continue research and development into the qualification of and safe transition to the use of unleaded aviation fuel by the fleet of piston engine aircraft.

(Sec. 1012) Directs the Secretary to establish a research grant program to develop technologies that produce jet fuel from alternative sources (such as coal, natural gas, biomass, ethanol, butanol, and hydrogen).

(Sec. 1013) Directs the FAA Administrator to review FAA energy-, environment-, and aviation safety-related research programs.