Look, Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s a Drone

Swanka S. Burnette
Business Development Manager


May 2, 1952, marked the first day of the first commercial jet service in the world, flying passengers from London to Johannesburg.

Fast forward to 2018 (Happy New Year!) and the airline industry is largely taken for granted. We look in the sky and see an almost 200,000-pound metal bird hurtling through the air and it’s as normal a sight as an actual bird.

Consider for a moment the societally transformative nature of the airplane. Commercial air travel altered how we do business and where we can live or visit. Dozens of job-rich industries (air traffic control and aircraft manufacturing come to mind) exist because humans dared to fly.

We find ourselves today teetering at the edge of a new aviation frontier: unmanned aircraft. Some reading this would argue that we have long crossed into the age of the drone.

I wouldn’t disagree.

I and others in our Loudoun County community envision a near-term future where the new normal is to look up in the sky and see fully automated drones securing data centers, delivering medicine to the elderly and performing search and rescue missions over dense forests and or following catastrophic facility fires.

Our society didn’t transition from 1952 aviation to the present day without a great deal of innovative forethought, collaboration, and inspiration. The same level of discussion and consideration is required for us to realize a commercially viable and safe drone ecosystem in our community and beyond.

Join us on January 25 as our expert panel discusses “The Future of Unmanned Aerial Systems.” A question posited by you could be the catalyst for the next great innovation.

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