North Carolina is known for being first in aviation and it will soon be among the first to have a drone-smart airport.
Washington-Warren Airport in Beaufort County has partnered with Xelevate, a company out of Washington, D.C. involved in unmanned technology, to open a drone school.
“We are very excited to start pushing forward the envelope in flight operations that has not happened yet in the United States,” Marcy Eisenberg, Xelevate president and co-founder said.
From implementing drones into airport operations to consumer deliveries and even supporting emergency management performance, Washington-Warren Airport is going to be the grounds for developing one of the first drone research, teaching, and testing facilities on the East Coast.
“It’s all about cultural awareness… helping people understand that drones are used in many ways for good reasons and everyone can have a promising, purposeful career,” Eisenberg said. “…and that there are ways to do this safely, smart, and we can all innovate together for the betterment of America.”
The airport received $20 million in state funding in September for economic development and infrastructure modernization, opening the door for Xelevate to expand into North Carolina.
Airport Director Earl Malpass says they are calling themselves the “tip of the spearhead” because of the possibilities ahead.
“It’s going to bring new opportunities to the next generation. I’m excited because we are going to take this technology and not only use it for making drones, but we are trying to incorporate it into the grade school, as well as the high school, and the college as well,” Malpass said.
Not only is the effort an opportunity for the younger generation, but Xelevate says just about anybody can find a career with this initiative.
On Dec. 17th, the airport and Xelevate will host a manned and unmanned flight show featuring the debut of the drones and well-known flight squads.