Need a Flight to the Coast on Short Notice? Aurora Flight Services May Have Your Answer
GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION – Courtesy of The Dispatch
Columbus Rotary Club member John Davis chats with Aurora Flight Sciences Vice President Greg Stewart – photo by Slim Smith, Dispatch Staff
Aurora Flight Sciences Vice President Greg Stewart recently spoke with the Columbus Rotary Club in Columbus. His company was sold to Boeing last year, and is already reaping the rewards: “We weren’t a small company before the sale,” Stewart told his audience. “We had about 500 employees. But Boeing is huge, about 77,000 employees. One of the biggest things about that is suddenly we have access to the resources of a company that size. It’s been less than a year since the sale, and we’re already seeing the benefits of that . . . “There were areas before the sale where we were competitors and, a lot of times, Boeing had the advantage because of their superior resources,” he went on to say. “Now that we are partners, we’re seeing new opportunities.”
One new project they are working on is the aircraft equivalent of a service such as Uber or Lyft – On-demand flights; they hope to be able to use small, unmanned passenger aircraft for this purpose. “Imagine that you need to get to the (Gulf) Coast all the sudden,” Stewart said. “What we are working on is a system like Uber. You order a flight, go out to the airport, get on the plane and you’re on the coast in an hour. You’re the only person in the plane.” This project along has called for them to add a hundred fifty new employees.
“[The merger with Boeing has] taken some time for us to adapt to, but on the other side, the opportunities it has presented have been more than we could have dreamed of. It’s been a great move for both companies,” he added.
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Courtesy of Roger Wicker, U. S. Senate, R-Mississippi
Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss) – Courtesy Photo
Wicker: Air Force Awards $48M Contract to Develop Unmanned Aircraft in Columbus, Miss.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, today congratulated Aurora Flight Sciences for winning a $48 million Air Force contract to continue development of Orion unmanned aircraft. These systems are built in Columbus, Miss. In 2014, Orion set the world record for unmanned aerial systems flight endurance by remaining aloft for 80 hours.
“I am pleased that the Air Force continues to have confidence in developing Aurora’s ultra-long endurance Orion military drone,” Wicker said. “Orion will provide vital information to military commanders and our troops once it is deployed. Congress should approve the proposed FY18 funding for these aircraft, so that an entire deployable system will be coming off the line in the next 18 months.”
C-L Chamber Announces New Members
COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch – PRESS RELEASE (Exerpts)
From left, Matt Bogue, Greg Stewart and Jill Savely (courtesy photo)
Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the results of the 2017 board election. The new members are: New CLCC Board members elected are Matt Bogue, The Dutch Oil Group; Greg Stewart, Aurora Flight Sciences; and Jill Savely, EMCC Golden Triangle Early College High School. Bogue, Stewart, and Savely will serve a three year term from October 2017- September 2020 and were elected by majority vote by the Chamber membership.
The CLCC Board Chair for 2017-2018 is Melinda Lowe, Director for the Office of Outreach and Innovation at the Mississippi University for Women.
“The Chamber would not be where we are today without their leadership, and I am grateful. I look forward to working with such a great group of inspiring leaders and a great representation of our membership,” said Lisa James, CLCC President. “Together with the staff, this group will help build a successful future for the Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce.”
Board members serve staggered terms and are elected by the Chamber membership from a slate of 6 approved by the Executive Committee of the Golden Triangle Development LINK.
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MSU’s Unmanned Aviation Program is Flying High
MSU Ag Drone (courtesy photo, MDA/Mississippi Works)
Courtesy of MDA/Mississippi Works
Unmanned flying drones have become more complex, and more popular, over the past several years, and Mississippi is now leading the push to develop better and better units. The FAA has named Mississippi State as the home of the Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, making it *the* place to be for research of this kind. Mississippi’s will be working with the Center of Excellence is to help introduce UAV and UAS technologies to our nation and to the world in a safe, responsible manner. MSU collaborates with ASSURE (Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence), which is made up of over 20 research universities from around the world and industry partners.
The applications of this technology are myriad, and its potential economic impact on the state and nation are expected to be both far-reaching and very significant.Over one hundred aerospace companies have chosen to hedge their bets with the state of Mississippi, including international industry leaders such as Aurora Flight Sciences, Northrop Grumman, Stark Aerospace, and many more.The state’s competitive edge in aerospace brought them here; the expertise and drive of the people who work with and for them in Mississippi has kept them here.
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Aurora Flight Services recently announced that they have beat out several high-end competitors – including Boeing – for am $89 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contract. They will be designing and constructing a VTOL drone, which could also be modified to accommodate a pilot, for future use in the military.
Aurora reports that they have been working on a design for such a craft for about two years now, and that they will be able to go ahead and create the actual “LightningStrike” plane, as it has been dubbed, in anticipation of a 2018 test flight series. It is hoped that the whole process will help to bring a number of additional jobs to this area. Aurora has roughly twenty years of experience creating VTOL aircraft, so the project is in good hands.
“Aurora is proud to support DARPA on what we all hope to be a truly historic breakthrough in aviation technology,” Aurora chairman and CEO John Langford said in a statement. “If successful, the VTOL X-Plane’s radically improved flight capabilities could lead to revolutionary advancement of the U.S. military’s future missions capabilities.”
For more info, and a video, check the link here: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=49332