General Atomics breaks ground at Grand Sky technology park

By Ann Bailey | November 12, 2015

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. broke ground Nov. 9 on a 5.5-acre remotely piloted aircraft training facility at Grand Sky UAS park, Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.

General Atomics plans to begin training pilots to operate the company’s aircraft early next year and, shortly after that, to train pilots of U.S. allies that include England, France and Italy. Eventually General Atomics also hopes to supplement the United States Air Force training program. About 25 General Atomics employees will be on staff at the academy during the first year.

General Atomics signed a 10-year lease for the 19,400 square feet pilot training academy which has capacity to train 100 pilots year-round. It is the second facility to break ground at Grand Sky UAS park in the last several weeks. In October, Northrop Grumman broke ground at the 216-acre technology park.

“The Border Patrol has brought us into the first level of integration of air space. What we want to do is go beyond that,” said Linden Blue General Atomics CEO.said.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Rep. Kevin Cramer, R.-N.D., thanked Blue for choosing Grand Sky UAS park to train its remote pilots.  Hoeven complimented the “incredible vision” of General Atomics to see where the future is going.

“Congratulations General Atomics. It is a great day for you,” Hoeven said.

Col. Rodney Lewis, vice commander of Grand Forks Air Base 319 Air Base Wing said it that it’s evident a facility is open for business when it’s buzzing with activity but even more so when you have an address, 5 Grand Sky Boulevard, Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.,D. 58205.

”We are open for business. It’s all about preserving the American dream,” Lewis said. “We looking forward to making this a success not only for General Atomics, but also for the United States of America.”

“If we can continue on the path we’ve laid out…in this little corner of Grand Forks Air Force Base, we can change the world,” Blue said.