Raspet Milestones

Dean L.L. Patterson hires Flinsch

Mississippi State School of Engineering Dean L.L. Patterson hires Flinsch as professor of civil engineering and associate director of the Engineering and Industrial Research Station.

1948
1949 Saliplane

Harold von Neufville Flinsch

Harold von Neufville Flinsch becomes dean of Mississippi State’s School of Engineering and attracts Dr. August Raspet to Mississippi State College to begin his own independent sailplane research program.

1949
1949 Raspet

Department of Aerophysics

Mississippi State creates the Department of Aerophysics, featuring Dr. August “Gus” Raspet’s sailplane research.  The efforts emphasized the aeronautics of bird flight and how it could translate to human flight.     

1949

New Discoveries

Dr. Raspet’s research begins shifting to boundary layer control with subsequent discoveries drawing national attention.

1950

Soaring Above the Rest

Dick Johnson, with assistance from Dr. Raspet, wins the national soaring championship and sets a new soaring distance record of 545 miles.

1950

Dr. Raspet makes a boundary layer suction discovery

Dr. Raspet makes a boundary layer suction discovery, providing the department national recognition for engineering research and sparking interest in its potential applications to short take-off and landing aircraft.

1951
1955 Marvel C

MARVEL

Mississippi State researchers purchase an AG-14 pusher aircraft and begin redesigning and transforming it into a short take-off and landing aircraft under the MARVEL (Mississippi Aerophysics Research Vehicle with Extended Latitude) program.

1955
1957 Marvelett B

The Marvelette

Mississippi State acquires a second AG-14 aircraft and begins replacing everything but the cockpit module, engine and landing gear. Known as the Marvellette, the newly designed airplane was an interim step toward refinement of the Marvel design, a short take-off and landing aircraft.

1957

Dr. Raspet's Legacy

Mississippi’s state legislature funds an aerophysics research institute, the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory, in memory of Dr. August “Gus” Raspet soon after he died following a plane crash.

1960

The Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award

The Experimental Aircraft Association begins annual presentations of its Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award to a person making “outstanding contribution to the advancement of light aircraft design.”

1960

Dr. Michael Smith is hired as head of Ag Aviation

Raspet flight lab hires a researcher to head its Ag Aviation Project. Dr. Michael Smith’s efforts increases pilot safety and improves dispersal rates.

1962

A New Home in Starkville

The Raspet Flight Research Laboratory opens at the Starkville airport.

1964
1955 Marvel

MARVEL's First Flight

The Marvel, the world’s first all composite aircraft equipped with a turboprop, flies its first flight. It was designed, developed and built at Raspet.

1965
1981 Brico

Desert Utility Observation with Brico Limited

The Raspet flight lab receives a contract from Brico Limited to perform research on a desert utility observation aircraft. The lab made significant modifications to its Marvel aircraft and tested it the following year in Saudi Arabia.

1981
1986 Honda

Honda Research and Development Corporation

Honda Research and Development Corporation begins a program at Raspet to develop a turbojet-powered aircraft constructed completely from composite materials.

1986
1991 x-30

X-30 National Aerospace Plane

A senior design class constructs a one-third scale mockup of the X-30 National Aerospace Plane, demonstrating the Raspet flight lab’s ability to construct complex, large-scale composite structures.

1991
1993 Honda

The Honda MH-02

The world’s first all-composite experimental business jet, the Honda MH-02, conducted its maiden flight from the George M. Bryan Airport in Starkville. Funded by the Honda Aircraft Company, the jet was fabricated and assembled at the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory where extensive flight testing was also conducted.

1993

50 Years!

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics presented the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory with the Piper General Aviation Award, in recognition of its 50 years of outstanding contributions to the advancement of general aviation.   

1998

Raspet Relocates

Raspet relocates its primary operations to a 50,000 square-foot facility previously donated by Honda.

2002

Aurora Flight Sciences

Aurora Flight Sciences, which became a Boeing company, opens a start-up manufacturing facility at Raspet. Four years later, it moved to a permanent facility in nearby Columbus, where it operates today.

2003
2003 Soaring Musem

A National Landmark of Soaring

The National Soaring Museum designates the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory a “National Landmark of Soaring” in recognition of its contributions to motorless flight, including pioneering drag reduction and suction boundary layer research that propelled the United States to world leadership in sailplane design in the late 1950s.

2003

Stark Aerospace

Stark Aerospace begins making unmanned aerial vehicle parts in its start-up operations at Raspet. Two years later, it moved to its 120,000 square foot facility in the nearby Golden Triangle Industrial Aerospace Park, where it operates today.

2007

New Research Center

Boeing, Mississippi State, and Mississippi officials announce MSU will host a research center, located at Raspet, that will facilitate and promote research related to aerospace composite structures.

2015
2015 Assure

ASSURE

The Federal Aviation Administration selects a Mississippi State University team as the FAA’s Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The Center, known as the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence, or ASSURE, focuses on research, education and training in areas critical to safe and successful integration of UAS in the nation’s airspace. The team, led by MSU, brings together 15 of the nation’s leading UAS and aviation universities.

2015

Mississippi Joins the UAS Test Range Complex

The state of Mississippi becomes a full member in the University of Alaska Fairbanks-led Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex. The complex is one of the FAA’s seven UAS test sites. The Mississippi program, led by Mississippi State, will include several UAS test and evaluation sites in the state.

2016
2017 DHS

Mississippi Selected for UAS Demonstration Range

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate selects Mississippi as its UAS demonstration range. Led by Raspet and the Mississippi Partnership, the demonstration range is a UAS flight testing and exercise evaluation facility.

2017
2019 ACI B

Marvin B. Dow Stitched Composites Development Center at MSU’s Advanced Composites Institute

Following Boeing’s selection of Mississippi State to create a stitched, resin-infused composites lab, MSU opens the Marvin B. Dow Stitched Composites Development Center at MSU’s Advanced Composites Institute. The institute is housed at Raspet.

2019
2020 SRF

Raspet designated as the FAA’s UAS Safety Research Facility

The Federal Aviation Administration designates Raspet as the FAA’s UAS Safety Research Facility. In this role, the MSU flight research lab studies safety standards for unmanned aircraft systems and develops and validates certification standards for the systems.

2020
2021 Class C Airspace

Class C

Mississippi State University’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory flies the first non-military, Group 3 unmanned aircraft system within the Federal Aviation Administration’s Class C controlled airspace. The flight took place at the busiest airport in Mississippi: the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport.

2021