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New bill could boost aeronautics

Steve Knight (143715)
Steve Knight

With the Antelope Valley serving as the unofficial “aerospace capital of the world,” Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25) has introduced a bill that may help to revitalize America’s commitment to the study, design and manufacture of advanced aircraft.

H.R. 5466, the Aeronautics Innovation Act, is said to lay out a comprehensive vision for American aerospace with the goal of developing aeronautics programs that can face the challenges of the 21st century. There are reportedly only a handful of government projects and initiatives that support aeronautics research and development, with Knight noting that a lack of coordination and funding is inhibiting their potential.

“Aeronautics is the first “A” in NASA,” Knight stated in a recent press release. “It sustains our military dominance and fuels the next great leaps in the civil air transportation system on which all Americans rely. This bill would be a step toward ensuring continued success in this field by giving our aeronautics research and development the policy continuity and budget stability necessary to achieve national goals.”

The bill would begin by declaring that the nation is entering an era of new and extensive challenges to air dominance, then goes on to formulate a plan for creating a new national aeronautics program that may secure U.S. commercial and military aviation leadership. One aspect of the bill would be the establishment of five full-scale experimental plane and systems programs (the “X program”) which would elevate efforts to coordinate and strengthen federal hypersonics programs, and establish an investment fund to upgrade and create new facilities to ensure NASA has the capability to pursue a path to flight for each of the act’s proposed demonstration projects.

“The Aeronautics Innovation Act is a roadmap to restoring American aeronautics to its full potential, which is crucial for national defense and economic growth,” Knight added.