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5/19/2017 - Governor Flies Centaur Drone - Click here to print this information

By Wesley Edwards

Thursday Gov. Terry McAuliffe and many dignitaries both the state and local level were present for the official ribbon-cutting or opening of the new Mars UAS Airfield, better known as the drone runway. The new airfield is approximately 3000 feet long by 75 feet wide. A wide range of drones from table size to the 4 seater Centaur twin-engine with a 800 pound payload capacity were on display with the Gov. flying the Aurora Centaur D.A. 42 from the rear seat by a computer in his lap later in the day.

When the governor exited the plane after his flight he explained that he had simply pushed a button that said take off, another button that said turn right, the same button to turn right again, and finally one that said land, with the plane coming straight in for a smooth landing. He explained that normally this plane could be flown by pilot or by a computer from almost anywhere in the United States. There was a licensed pilot aboard in case of emergencies.

Earlier in the afternoon secretary of state transportation Aubrey Lane and the Virginia Space Director Dale Nash welcomed everyone to Wallops. Mr. Nash before introducing Gov. McAuliffe told the audience that Gov. McAuliffe had created 189,000 new jobs since he took office and reduced unemployment from 5.4% in 2014 to 3.8% currently and that he would be known as the cyber Gov. and had been recognized recently as the governor of the year with 27 trade missions outside of the United States.

McAuliffe in his opening remarks stated that his goal was a drone in every houseciting examples where drones had delivered medicines saving lives where normal transportation could not be used. He then also pointed out he wanted every drone made to be made in the state of Virginia. While touring the NASA/orbital ATK building where the Antares rocket scheduled for lift off in late August or early September was being assembled he thanked the employees for the wonderful work that they did, he stated that today he was the first governor to a flying drone and he wanted to be the first governor in space, emphasizing that he wanted a round-trip ticket.

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