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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 hosts Aeronyde of Melbourne, Florida, IVO, Ltd of Covington, Virginia and Quest Knight Enterprises, Leesburg, Virginia.  Please call or email Krystal Onaitis, City Manager of Covington for additional information at or 540.965.6300.

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:

Virginia Tech AUSVI Newsletter here.

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:

Fall Classes

Course Descriptions

UMS 107 – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Remote Pilot Ground School

Presents the aeronautical knowledge required for FAA approved commercial operations as a Remote Pilot with small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) rating. Covers the regulations applicable to small UAS operations, loading and performance, emergency procedures, crew resource management, determining the performance of the small unmanned aircraft, and maintenance/inspection procedures. Prepares students for the FAA written examination required to obtain the Remote Pilot certificate.

Lecture 2-3 hours. Total 2-3 hours per week.

2-3 credits

UMS 111 – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) I

Introduces students to the history of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS), surveys current platforms, applications, components, and sensors. Covers the theory of flight, operations, manual flight, maintenance, and required record keeping. Introduces mission planning, crew management, and autonomous control. Emphasizes the ethical, legal, and safe use of sUAS.

Lecture 3 hours. Total 3 hours per week.

3 credits

ELE 150 – A.C. and D.C. Circuit Fundamentals

Provides an intensive study of the fundamentals of direct and alternating current, resistance, magnetism, inductance and capacitance, with emphasis on practical applications. Focuses on electrical/machines applications.

Lecture 2 hours. Laboratory 2 hours. Total 4 hours per week.

3 credits

Spring Classes

Course Descriptions

UMS 177 – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Components and Maintenance

Provides an introduction to the basic equipment and techniques used in maintaining, repairing, and upgrading sUAS to assure airworthiness and proper operation of the other components. Emphasizes safe practices in repair and handling of components and develops fundamental skills in troubleshooting/repair of the circuits, subsystems and components typically found in the complete sUAS. Covers payload sensor mounting, power management and security threat management.

Lecture 2 hours. Laboratory 2-3 hours. Total hours per week 4-5.

3 credits

UMS 211 – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) II

Focuses on advanced Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) mission planning and operation of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS). Covers mission planning, operations, communications, autonomous flights, ground control station operations, crew management, emergency procedures, safety/air vehicle pilot checklist procedures, sensor selection, data collection and analysis. Examines advanced coverage of maintenance, operations support, and introduces geospatial product workflow. Emphasizes the ethical, legal, and safe use of sUAS.

Lecture 2 hours. Laboratory 2-3 hours. Total 4-5 hours per week.
Prerequisite: UMS 111

3 credits

ELE 156 – Electrical Control Systems

Includes troubleshooting and servicing electrical controls, electric motors, motor controls, motor starters, relays, overloads, instruments and control circuits.

Lecture 2 hours. Laboratory 2 hours. Total 4 hours per week.

3 credits


Other Drone Videos Of The Alleghany Highlands:

These videos are courtesy of Jerry Clark and The Alleghany Journal and their initial flights:


Rainbow Rock

Falling Springs

Jackson River Scenic Trailhead

A Bit of Clifton Forge

Covington Scenic Overlook

Low Moor I-64

The Road To Nowhere

Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)

Virginia Unmanned Systems Center at CIT Forms Board of Advisors to Support Local Initiatives, Forward Industry Expansion

Herndon, VA, May 07, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Virginia Unmanned Systems Center (VUS) at the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), which serves as the primary information resource and growth catalyst for unmanned systems (UMS) in Virginia, has established a Board of Advisors to support rapid market expansion. The 24-member advisory board brings together expertise and leadership from across the Commonwealth to guide strategies and priorities within the four domains of the unmanned systems market: land, sea, air, and space.  Full press release here.

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.

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