Plans are taking off for a new drone center on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Construction overseen by Wicomico County is underway on a new Unmanned Aircraft System flight facility at Salisbury Regional Airport. Last week, the Maryland Department of Commerce said it approved a $100,000 grant through the Advantage Maryland program to support costs associated with the project.
Over 8,000 square feet, the facility will have a hangar and office space. Officials said it will be home to design, testing and consulting. Leaders indicated it will support about 25 tech jobs, with another 29 indirect jobs supported. As far as the airborne personnel, the hangar will be able to accommodate drones with a wingspan of up to 70 feet and a height of 25 feet, according to info released by the airport earlier this year.
“With our team of designated Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] aircraft certification specialists, our excellent location with close proximity to the FAA’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, and our experts with more than 15 years of commercial and defense operation experience, we have a very unique opportunity here in Wicomico County,” Dawn Veatch, manager of the Salisbury Regional Airport, said in a statement.
The new facility is looking to bring in unmanned flight experience to the region. One aerospace company that will be among those operating there is Sentinel Robotic Solutions, LLC. The Wallops Island, Virginia-based company entered a five-year agreement to operate at the site. The seven-year-old company works with NASA, the FAA and the Wallops Flight Facility. More companies are expected to move in when the facility opens next year.
As interest increases in airborne innovation, we’re seeing more airports get involved in the creation of new companies. In Southern Maryland, the TechPort at St. Mary’s County Regional Airport became the county’s first business incubator when it got off the ground in recent years.-30-