Drones are getting more sophisticated, shedding their novelty status to become a powerful tool for multiple industries and beginning to move into the framework of traditional aviation. It’s time to decide which applications are realistic, which are beneficial, and what regulations are necessary to integrate a unique technology safely and seamlessly into everyday life.

You are invited to join Virginia Tech’s drone technology and policy expert Mark Blanks for a discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing the drone industry. Blanks leads the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, one of seven national FAA-designated test sites for unmanned aircraft, and works closely with leading companies and federal agencies to take on the most pressing challenges in drone integration. MAAP’s work has led to landmark permissions and operations that have moved the drone industry forward, including the recent launch of the first commercial drone delivery program to residences in the United States.

When: Tuesday, January 21 from 12 noon – 1 p.m. (doors open at 11:30 a.m.)

Where: Virginia Tech Research Center
900 North Glebe Road - 2nd Floor
Arlington, VA  22203

Boxed lunches will be provided.

RSVP by January 17 to Shannon Andrea in the Virginia Tech media relations office at 571-858-3262 or sandrea@vt.edu.


Mark Blanks is the director of the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) where he leads both an FAA-designated drone test site and Integration Pilot Program (IPP). He has built successful drone research programs at multiple universities, leveraging his extensive background in aircraft maintenance, flight test, and certification. Blanks has guided MAAP through remarkable growth while overseeing and expanding a substantial portfolio of operations and research. He plays an active role in policy and advocacy, serving on multiple unmanned systems-related boards and committees. Blanks is an instrument-rated pilot and aircraft mechanic.

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