First Governor to Fly in Autonomous Aircraft
The Grand Opening Of Nasa Wallops Was Historical, The Virginia Governor Was In Attendance
The opening of the new UAS runway at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia was nothing short of historical. The event took place one week after Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s announcement of the Autonomous Systems Center of Excellence. The center aims to further Virginia’s position within the Autonomous Systems community.
Governor McAuliffe solidified his commitment to supporting emerging UAS technology by participating in a flight during the event. The 8-minute flight made Governor McAuliffe the first sitting United States governor to fly in an UAV in history.
“I have witnessed first-hand the impact that the UAS industry will have on the future of transportation and our lives will change as we know it. You will be able to do just what I did today – hop in a plane, press a button and the machine takes you where you want to go!” stated Governor McAuliffe.
Aurora Flight Sciences featured its Centaur UAS capabilities during the ribbon cutting. They showcased their leadership in the development and manufacturing of advanced UAVs. By staging both the pilot and sensor operator stations onboard or remotely, allows for a variety of flight configurations. As part of the demonstration, the Governor controlled the Centaur from a laptop computer onboard the aircraft.
“Just a few weeks prior Aurora announced that we are pursuing small electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for urban air mobility projects,” said Aurora CEO John Langford. “A key part of this concept is the ability to conduct all phases of flight automatically. Today’s flight shows that we are already there with the technology in current general-aviation aircraft so the next step to achieving fully autonomous transportation is on track.”