Guys,

From another list:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: May 18, 2017
Office of the Governor
Contact: Brian Coy
Email: brian.coy@governor.virginia.gov

Virginia Opens Unmanned Aircraft Runway on Wallops Island

~ After cutting ribbon, Governor McAuliffe becomes first governor to fly in
autonomous aircraft ~

WALLOPS ISLAND - Governor Terry McAuliffe today celebrated the opening of
Virginia's newest asset in drone technology research - a runway for unmanned
aircraft - and then experienced the future of aviation firsthand by flying
in a plane that can be piloted from the ground.
Governor McAuliffe visited NASA Wallops Flight Facility for a ribbon-cutting
on the runway, a $5.8 million state-funded project officially known as the
Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MARS UAS)
Airfield.
"The MARS UAS Airfield presents a significant new capability for Wallops and
the Hampton Roads region," Governor McAuliffe said. "It propels Virginia
further on its quest to become a national leader in autonomous technology
and industry, which is at the heart of our efforts to build a new Virginia
economy."
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Governor McAuliffe boarded an Aurora
Centaur, an optionally piloted aircraft that can be operated remotely from a
ground control station, and flew in the plane over Wallops Island.
"This new facility at Wallops provides government and commercial users with
a runway under restricted airspace on a secure federal facility -
discreetness that is of high interest for research and development,"
Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said.
"The new UAS runway is an outstanding and strategic addition to the vast
array of unmanned systems assets in the Commonwealth," said Secretary of
Technology Karen Jackson. "The addition of these unique capabilities will
provide the opportunity for even more companies and organizations to test
their systems in Virginia."
Additional details about the runway:
· The runway is 3,000 feet long and 75 feet wide.
· Its concrete pad measures 130 feet by 120 feet and is rated to
5,000 psi for Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) operations.
· The airfield is surrounded by 75 square nautical miles of
restricted airspace that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to
unlimited altitude.
· The Virginia Department of Transportation managed construction of
the $5.8 million, state-funded project.
· A 90-foot-by-50-foot hangar with a 70-foot-tall rollup door, lab
space, communications and broadband connectivity will be under construction
this summer.
Dale Nash, executive director of Virginia Space, thanked Governor McAuliffe
and Virginia's legislators for providing funding for construction of the
MARS UAS Airfield.
"I also want to thank Secretary Layne and VDOT Commissioner Charlie
Kilpatrick for all their support," Nash said. "With Virginia Space being
within the Transportation Secretariat, we were able to draw on their
considerable resources. VDOT managed the entire construction of runway from
the initial turnover of engineering drawings and permits to the last foot of
paving."
The MARS UAS Airfield is the latest commitment by Virginia to become the
home of an array of autonomy-related assets designed to attract business.
This investment, combined with programs from NASA at Wallops and Langley,
the establishment of the Autonomous Systems Center of Excellence run by the
Center for Innovative Technology, and designation of Virginia as one of six
FAA test sites for unmanned aircraft systems, will help fulfill the
Commonwealth's mission of being one of the best autonomous hubs of industry
in the nation.
According to a study completed by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle
Systems International (AUVSI), the UAS industry is predicted to have a total
economic impact in Virginia of approximately $270M annually by the year
2020.