General Atomics Celebrates Grand Opening of Training Hanger at Grand Sky
The hangar will serve as a flight test and training center
GRAND FORKS, ND — General Atomics has completed its flight test and training center in Grand Forks.
The 24,000 square foot facility is a 10 year lease between Grand Sky and General Atomics.
Grand Forks joins the big leagues.
“When they sell an aircraft to England or to Australia or some other country, they train the pilots here,” said Senator John Hoeven. “This is again, part of us making sure that we’re the leader of unmanned aviation right here in Grand Forks.”
General Atomics has solidified their presence in Grand Forks, with a permanent hangar at the Grand Sky Unmanned Airsystem Business Park.
The hangar will serve as a flight test and training center.
The $30 million operation has already trained more than 50 crews; in addition, they’ll also be doing developmental testing and operational testing for things like weapons simulators.
A permanent hangar is a step in the right direction for General Atomics to expand business.
“What it means is that General Atomics can continue to grow their business operations here, hire more people, bring more planes to Grand Forks, do more training,” said Thomas Swoyer, who is president of Grand Sky Development. “They can get that underway immediately.”
It’s not just General Atomics’ business that can grow.
North Dakota’s economy will be impacted, as well.
“It’s a job creator. We’re moving a number of people through training programs, so they come and they stay and stay in the hotels and they eat in the restaurants, buy and use rental cars,” Swoyer said. “That’s all economic activity that’s helping North Dakota.”
General Atomics CEO Linden Blue said he’s been impressed with how fast the idea of the facility came to life.
“I think there are a lot of places where you experience a lot of hiccups and delays,” Blue said. “I’m impressed with the adherence to schedule here and the quality.”
Senator Hoeven said the impact of aviation in Grand Forks is about to change big time because of the new facility.
“General Atomics is one of the absolute leaders in aviation innovation in the world,” Senator Hoeven said. “Not just in the country. In the world.”
It’s one more advancement to keep drone technology soaring in Grand Forks.
The UAS Summit will be held tomorrow in Grand Forks, which will feature discussions from aviation leaders all around the world.