ECSU (Elizabeth City State University), AeroX and Piedmont Flight Training are “joining forces” to expand aviation education, strengthen and diversify the industry workforce and build an autonomous urban aircraft infrastructure in North Carolina, reports a press release. The 10-year collaboration began earlier this month and can be renewed in 2032.

This three-way collaboration aims to build a tech-savvy labour force and infrastructure needed to keep North Carolina an aviation leader for decades to come and help meet today’s aviation opportunities, as well as emerging technologies of the future.

The Advanced Air Mobility Market (AAM) that includes eVTOLs, drones and individual Flying Cars is expected to be a USD1.5 trillion market by 2040.

: ECSU offers Aviation Science and Unmanned Aircraft Systems degrees in North Carolina, which will expand to the Winston-Salem region through an online aviation degree program and flight training partnership with Piedmont Flight Training (PFT).

: Piedmont Flight Training is soon to be ECSU’s affiliated flight school partner,  training students at its Smith Reynolds Airport facility in Winston-Salem that includes a pilot’s license. PFT will be the exclusive provider of flight training services for ECSU’s aviation science degree.

: AeroX which is a non-profit organisation comprised of business, government and community partners, was recently awarded USD5 million from the North Carolina General Assembly to build an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)traffic management system in Winston-Salem.  ECSU will provide student and faculty resources and expertise to help create this low-altitude air traffic control system. AeroX will offer two paid advanced air mobility (AAM) summer internships to provide experience in the aviation industry and support AeroX’s STEM-related activities.

ECSU Chancellor Karrie G. Dixon said, “We’re diversifying the workforce, giving our students a bright, stable economic future and supporting the aviation industry and our state all at the same time.”

David Mounts, PFT owner and member of AeroX’s board of directors, commented, “AeroX is creating America’s first urban air mobility system to attract companies and create technology jobs, while Piedmont Flight Training and ECSU are preparing students for aviation careers.”

He continued, “Our partnership with ECSU will help us prepare our local workforce and expand access to high-potential job opportunities right here in our communities.”

Basil Yap

Basil Yap, President of AeroX and appointee to NASA’s Aeronautics Research and Technology Roundtable, added, “We are currently seeing the biggest change in aviation since the jet engine. Over the past five years, North Carolina has established itself as a leader in the evolving UAM industry. This collaboration between AeroX, ECSU, and Piedmont Flight Training ensures we are giving our communities the education and training to benefit from these advancements in aviation to help our state maintain its leadership role.”

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