Airspace. Infrastructure. Facilities. Support. Sustainment. Partnerships. When one imagines the ideal training facility for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), these are the factors that come into play. At Camp Gilbert C. Grafton Training Center near Devil’s Lake, ND you will find these resources in one place. This fact, in conjunction with Camp Grafton’s remote range locations makes this North Dakota National Guard Installation a hidden gem in the heart of the North Dakota UAS industry.
Retired Colonel Lee Nordin, Camp Grafton’s Director of Strategic Development spoke at December’s Drone Biz in Grand Forks, ND. This monthly AUVSI chapter event displays one of the chief reasons the UAS industry continues to rise in the Grand Forks region: collaboration. Drone Biz aims to bring awareness, collaboration, and education amongst industry leaders and the community, and is sponsored by Evolve Grand Forks and the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation.
At the December event Nordin spoke about Camp Grafton Training Center’s attributes as a state asset. “It is not owned by the federal government, it is ours as a state. We are constantly looking for public-private partnerships and opportunities to support UAS and counter UAS activities.”
Nordin stated the facility has accommodated requests of all kinds, even if the projects initially seem daunting. “Come to us with your research projects or operational tests, and your concept of operations and we’ll do everything we can to make it happen.”
The Grand Forks region and the state of North Dakota continue to lean forward in advancement of UAS technologies, capabilities, and policies to be the most prominent place for conducting commercial flight operations. Vast amounts of unimpeded airspace and a convergence of industry leaders are just some of our most vital resources. Additionally, we have a plethora of training areas and facilities for conducting leading edge tests in counter UAS, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), night operations, and flight operations over people. Camp Grafton Training Center is just one important component in the overall support North Dakota can provide the UAS industry.
By partnering with organizations such as the state’s Northern Plains UAS Test Site, UAS Industry partners can make commercial flight operations a reality at the Camp Grafton Training Center. Join us the next DroneBiz luncheon on January 11, 2018 to meet and network with industry leaders in this rapidly evolving sector.
Want to learn more about UAS in North Dakota? Visit the Grand Forks Region EDC UAS webpage to find out why our UAS ecosystem is thriving.
-Wes Shover, UAS Sector Development Manager, Grand Forks Region EDC