Although the United States is still a world leader in aviation, with the aeronautics industry holding a unique position in its contribution to trade, national security, and as a symbol of technological might, this position is severely threatened. The technical margins that have long provided U.S. preeminence have narrowed, in recent years, as foreign competition has increased.
This paper reviews recent advances in technology resulting from NASA's aeronautics research that has helped the U.S. maintain its leadership. In order to respond to the increasing competition, NASA plans to increase its aeronautical R&T efforts, next year, in composites, propulsion, and aviation safety/automation. These increased efforts, building on the ongoing programs, provide an important next step in technology development for strengthening U.S. aeronautics competitiveness into the 21st Century.