Top Nav

Drone Technology

Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone

The Alleghany Highlands has the opportunity and the capability with our unique assets (mountains, river, underground mine) to assist with Research & Development, Recreational, Racing Competitions, and training for Unmanned Systems.   We presently are creating the “Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone.”   This facility presently host two unmanned system companies.  Please call or email Marla Akridge for additional information at  or 540.862.0936.

Virginia Tech is approximately a hour/half from the Alleghany Highlands with additional researchers that use the area.

Virginia Tech Research Centers

Virginia Center for Autonomous Systems – Since its establishment, Virginia Tech’s Virginia Center for Autonomous Systems (VaCAS) has advocated and supported a broad range of basic and applied interdisciplinary research activities focused on autonomous system technology. VaCAS now includes 14 core faculty members and nearly two dozen affiliate faculty members across the university. VaCAShosts research activities spanning every application domain (marine, land, and air) and member research activities range from fundamental cognition and perception theory, to vehicle development, to applications for science, security, and commerce.

Core labs of VaCAS include:

Here are a couple of videos of what goes on in the Alleghany Highlands:

The Flying Circus FPV event here.

The Stone Blue Airlines Flying Circus FPV Cave Race here.

The beautiful Falling Spring Falls here.

Dabney S. Lancaster Community College

Our local community college Dabney S. Lancaster Community College  offers the following courses:

Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drone) Qualification Course

This is a 1-day ground school course designed to prepare enrollees to operate small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) aircraft within the airspace of the United States and its territories in accordance with the rules and regulations established by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 14 CFR Part 107. Success in this Course will prepare graduates to sit for the FAA CFR Part 107 Remote Pilot Airmen Certificate test, and to safely and legally operate sUAS vehicles under 55 lbs. weight.

Main campus, Clifton Forge. Tuition: $240            Saturdays 9am – 12pm

3 class dates available: Sep 30 (7010012/812), Oct 21 (7010012/813), and Nov 18 (7010012/814).

Flight Training on Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones)

This 1-day hands-on course is designed to qualify enrollees for pre-flight and flight operation of a sUAS aircraft (drone).  Enrollment relies upon successful completion of Qualification Course but does not require possession of a valid sUAS license from the FAA. The instructor shall furnish the drone and the student will log two hours of actual flight preparation and flight time performing tasks typical of commercial drone operations. Skills taught will include mission definition, preparation for flight, weight and balance, mission execution, basic and advanced flight maneuvers and more.

Main campus, Clifton Forge. Tuition: $160            Saturdays 1pm – 3pm

3 class dates available: Sep 30 (7010015/815), Oct 21 (7010015/816), and Nov 18 (7010015/817).

Other Advantages

  • The region is strategically positioned midway along the eastern seaboard on Interstate-64 between Interstates-77 and -81, convenient to major U.S. markets. More than 40 percent of the U.S. population and in excess of 200,000 manufacturers are located within a 600 mile radius.
  • Area employers are able to draw on a civilian labor force of more than 72,000 (from two states) within a 45-minute commute. Included in that is the approximately 8,700 underemployed workers mentioned above.
  • The entire region is located within an inland port, the Virginia TradePort, which is centered at the New River Valley Airport in Pulaski County, VA. The inland port has a US Customs Officer on location to process import/export goods.
  • Electric rates, provided by Dominion Virginia Energy, are 30 percent below the national average.
  • A strong fiber optic infrastructure, which is about to be even more widespread, thanks to Lumos Fiber-to-the-Premises program. Inaugurated in the fall of 2010, FTTP brings to the area the same broadband services – for businesses and homes – currently available in Virginia’s largest metro areas.

Available Properties

A number of excellent properties and sites are available to packaging and plastics manufacturing firms. Featured properties include:

Rail Over River Industrial Park

A Unique Property for a Campus of Companies

  • More than 360,000 square feet available: manufacturing, office, data center, warehousing, machine shop and more.
  • Developable acreage includes a water filtration plant capable of producing 5 MGD. Source testing indicates excellent quality, suitable for bottling. Need water link
  • Property is located in a state-designated Enterprise Zone, A Foreign Trade Zone (#238) and a HUB Zone, and is eligible for New Market Tax Credits.
  • Served by municipal utilities, Dominion Virginia Power, Columbia Gas and Lumos Networks (fiber is on site).
  • Zoned M2
  • Rail served by CSX

57 miles to the Roanoke Regional Airport, 34.2 miles to the Greenbrier Valley Airport

1.1 miles to Interstate-64, exit 14

Parker Hannifin Building

Move-In Condition on Rail with all Utilities

  • 165,000 sf, on 20 acres.
  • 6 dock-height doors, 6 drive-in doors.
  • Ceilings 24 feet
  • Property is located in a state-designated Enterprise Zone, A Foreign Trade Zone (#238) and a HUB Zone.
  • Served by municipal utilities, Dominion Virginia Power, Columbia Gas of Virginia and Lumos Networks (fiber is available).
  • 45 miles to Roanoke Regional Airport, 48 miles to Greenbrier Valley Airport

3 miles to I-64

Alleghany Regional Commerce Center


Available Land in an Established Business Park

  • 120 Acres
  • Amenities include a YMCA on-site.
  • Property is located in a state-designated Enterprise Zone, A Foreign Trade Zone (#238) and a HUB Zone.
  • Served by municipal utilities, Dominion Virginia Power and Lumos Networks (fiber is available).
  • 50 miles to Roanoke Regional Airport, 40.1 miles to Greenbrier Valley Airport

1 mile to I-64, exit 21

A full list of available properties is here.