The exploration of space and development of aviation and aeronautical safety stimulate human imagination around the world. In order to further develop these activities engineers as well as scientists specialized in this sector should be able to work in an optimal environment.

In this regard, the FXB Foundation has decided to sponsor various programs and initiatives run by the Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Michigan where François-Xavier graduated with honors as an engineer and published a reference manual “Theory of the helicopter for the private pilots”.

In 1989, the FXB Foundation financed a new building for the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Ann Arbor, Michigan. The FXB Building houses research laboratories, classrooms, offices, a conference hall and the FXB Library with a lounge to serve as a meeting place for students and professors from the Department of Aerospace Engineering. (http://www.engin.umich.edu/aero/about/aero/fxb)

The Wave Field, a memorial to Francois-Xavier Bagnoud, is truly an artistic treasure of the North Campus at the University of Michigan. The Wave Field is an earthen sculpture on the Southeast side of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Building. It was designed and created by Maya Lin, an artist well known for creating the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC in addition to the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery Alabama. The most unique aspect of The Wave Field is the way the appearance changes depending on the time of day. Different amounts of sunlight have the ability to alter the shadows the waves create and highlight new parts of this work of art. By simply allowing for the passage of time, the viewer can experience this piece in a variety of ways. (http://public-art.umich.edu/the_collection/campus/north/38).

Since 1991, the Foundation has also been financing FXB grants for students of the second and third cycle in aeronautics studies as well as an FXB Chair of aeronautics engineering specialized in the study of vertical flights in 1998. In 1999, the Rotary and Fixed Wing Air Vehicle Design Center was created. Its objective is the development of low cost optimal vehicles which produce little noise and vibrations when flying and have an acceptable tolerance to characteristic damage. In 2006, all of these different programs were combined into the « FXB Flight Vehicle Institute » which is part of the University of Michigan.

From 1992 to 1999, the FXB Aerospace Prize – created to honor the memory and ideals of its homonym and to recognize contributions and progress made within the field for humanity’s benefit – was awarded every two years for the most significant contributions in these areas.

The first edition of this prize was attributed in 1993 to Dr. William H. Pickering for his seminal work on the perception of the planetary system. In 1995, a second prize was awarded to the Apollo program whose developments resulted in traveling to the moon. The prize was assigned by Apollo to fund six research grants permitting further work in the domain of human spaceflight. Joseph E. Sutter, Kenneth F. Holtby, Everette Webb and Robert A. Davis, were the winners of the third prize in 1997 for their contribution and development of the Boeing 747. Finally, in 1999, the prize was awarded to Yuri P. Semenov Anatoly I. Kiselev, I. Gay Severin and Petr I. Klimuk for their participation in the Mir Station Project, which contributed greatly to the aerospace research since its launch.

Other contributions in the field of Aeronautics:

  • 1992: (Switzerland) Attribution of FXB Scholarship for studies to Benoît Darbellay to pursue and acquire his Helicopter license. Benoît was a pilot with Air-Glaciers until his tragic death in 2005.
  • 1992: (Africa) Two twin-engine Cessna were offered to AMREF (African Medical Research Foundation) in order to facilitate movements of medical teams, vaccination campaigns and emergency evacuations in the bush.