From the Wright brothers taking flight in Kill Devil Hills to the unprecedented use of drones and unmanned aircraft technology, aviation is not only an important part of the history of North Carolina but also the economy and the people who live and do business in the state.
- Each year, more than 50 million passengers fly into and out of the state's 72 public and 300-plus private airports, heliports and landing areas.
- Commercial and general aviation airports generate about $31 billion annually while providing more than 123,000 jobs.
- More than 20,000 drones in North Carolina are registered with the Federal Aviation Administration – including hundreds used by businesses and local and state government agencies.
The N.C. Department of Transportation's Division of Aviation has an important role in it all – from the planning and development of the state's aviation system to the administration of loans and grants to the oversight of the regulation of unmanned aircraft systems.
The Division also provides
safety and education support for more than 15,000 licensed pilots and provides aircraft services from aerial photography for state transportation projects to assisting government agencies with statewide emergency response.