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Virginia Earns #1 Ranking Among States for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

August 13, 2020
Amber L. Wilson

Virginia Earns #1 Ranking Among States for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

 Richmond—For the second consecutive year, Virginia has earned the #1 ranking for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) by Business Facilities magazine. The 16th annual report released by Business Facilities – a  forecast of future climates for business development and economic opportunity – said that Virginia was the first choice for UAS systems business climate.

The ranking comes just one week after the debut of the Virginia Flight Information Exchange, a platform for state and local government agencies to publish and share advisory information with each other, UAS Service Suppliers (USS), unmanned system operators, and the public to promote transparency and public safety. The pilot program will evaluate the benefits of information sharing, inform thoughtful regulation, and demonstrate a state-supported approach to UAS communications and coordination.

“Virginia is making great strides toward the safe and effective integration of Unmanned Aerial Systems into our everyday lives,” said Mark Flynn, director of the Virginia Department of Aviation. “The ranking is a reflection of the pro-business and forward-thinking attitude toward UAS that the government and private industry has built in the Commonwealth.”

The same report by Business Facilities also ranked Virginia as #1 in cybersecurity and digital infrastructure.  Virginia was ranked second for best business climate; third for workforce development/talent attraction and offshore wind power; and fifth for tech jobs.

Dr. Amber L. Wilson, DOAV manager of aviation technology, said, "The collaboration among the Department of Aviation and its public and private partners has created a safe atmosphere for the development of this emerging and important market.  Today's achievement is an excellent beginning in what will be a trend for the Commonwealth moving forward.”

The Virginia Department of Aviation's Mission is to: Develop an advanced aviation system that is safe, secure, and fosters economic development; Build an appreciation by the public for the importance of aviation and to inspire the next generation of aviation professionals; and Provide safe and highly efficient flight services for the Commonwealth's leadership and state agencies.