Virginia Tech has officially opened the tallest drone park in the U.S. In an event distinguished by remarks from Virginia Tech President Tim Sands, student drone demos, and an unusual ribbon-cutting ceremony, the university celebrated a facility that creates research and recreation opportunities for students and faculty and reflects Virginia Tech’s status as a leader in and destination for unmanned-aircraft research.
Standing 85 feet above ground, the football-field-sized park is the tallest netted flight facility in the country, and offers almost 3 million cubic feet of unobstructed flight space for student research, education, and recreation.
Because it’s outdoors, it provides a research environment with real-world wind and weather conditions; because it’s enclosed by a net, it isn’t subject to the FAA regulations that govern public airspace, giving students and faculty the freedom to pursue more innovative, ambitious projects. The facility is managed by the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership.
The Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership tackles complex UAS integration problems by connecting the innovative research at Virginia Tech with critical challenges in the drone industry. As an FAA-designated test site for unmanned aircraft systems, MAAP consolidates the capabilities, facilities, expertise, and industry and government relationships to spur growth in a field with the potential to transform everyday life.
The ceremony that was held on Thursday, April 26 included experts such as Mark Blanks, the director of the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, as well as students and faculty involved in drone research. The Virginia Tech Drone Park is located at 2143 Oak Lane in Blacksburg with parking available in adjacent Duck Pond overflow lot.