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FAA's medical institute marks 50 years

The Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, located at Oklahoma City's Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, trains pilots and flight crews on crash survival.
by Jennifer Palmer Published: December 13, 2012

Big innovations in aviation safety are attributed to the work done at the Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute in Oklahoma City, which is celebrating 50 years.

Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and other officials visited the facility Wednesday for a tour and presentation led by Melchor Antunano, director of the institute.

Located at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, the institute trains pilots and flight crews for aircraft crashes and includes a water facility to study flotation devices and water survival, a biodynamics impact track for crash testing, an altitude chamber and forensic toxicology laboratories.

“This institution has certainly set the gold standard for safety,” said Peggy Gilligan, the FAA's associate administrator for aviation safety.

Over its 50 years, the institute has contributed to aviation safety in the areas of medical fitness, crash-safety design through aircraft evacuation, defining measurable aptitudes for selecting air traffic controllers and assessing the effects of their workload on safe flight performance. Researchers also study aircraft accidents, and protection and survival of passengers.

An important history

The entity began as the Civil Aeromedical Research Institute in 1960, and was dedicated Oct. 21, 1962. Sen. Mike Monroney spoke during the dedication. It was renamed the Civil Aeromedical Institute in 1965 and in 2001, changed again to the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute to incorporate support of manned commercial space transportation.

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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