At nearly the size of a football field, with pillars surrounded by netting stretching high into the air, the new drone park is the tallest structure of its kind in the nation.
The project is a collaboration among various university entities, including the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership.
MAAP, as it’s known, is an FAA-designated unmanned aerial systems test site.
Director Mark Blanks says the drone park was needed in order to create an on-campus testing facility:
“One of the challenges here is that we have the airport right next to it, and airplanes fly right over the top of campus – and so doing drone innovation and drone development in that environment is a little bit of a concern, so the drone park allows us to test those things in a safe environment.”
Officials hope that students from all disciplines will be able to implement and test equipment at the park.
Andrew Grove is a first year engineering major:
“This allows me to design my own airplanes as a hobby, which you know lets me express myself as a future aerospace engineer. And, just in the first year of being in engineering, getting to design my own plane with the help of my team and getting to fly it out here is a really big thing for me.”
The facility has a projected price tag of just over $1 million.
RADIO IQ is a service of Virginia Tech.