Island University Celebrates FAA’s Economic Impact on the Coastal Bend

Published: January 14, 2014

Island University Celebrates FAA’s Economic Impact on the Coastal Bend

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi celebrated the economic impact of being designated an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) test site by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) during the “FAA UAS Test Site Citywide Celebration” held Monday, Jan. 13, at Brewster Street Ice House in downtown Corpus Christi.

“As you look at the many faces from around the Coastal Bend and the state who celebrate  this success, you get a true picture of how much support our effort had in making Texas the leader in the technology that will revolutionize the way we see aviation,” said Dr. Flavius Killebrew, President and CEO of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “We are proud that through research, education, and partnerships with our local community, we will make Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend one of the major technology capitals of the United States.”

During the celebration, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi thanked the community of Corpus Christi and its leaders for recognizing the importance of bringing this type of research to the area and for their support of the proposal. The celebration was held just two weeks after the FAA’s announcement Dec. 30 naming Texas as one of six test sites for UAS. In all, 24 states had applied for the designation.

This historic decision will have huge financial implications for the entire state of Texas, especially South Texas. Much of the expected economic benefit will center on the Coastal Bend.

“The City of Corpus Christi’s investment into Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s FAA test site designation will yield significant economic returns for our region and our state,” said Mayor Nelda Martinez. “In addition to the economic windfall, our designation will showcase Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi as a leader in cutting-edge technology and research in aviation technology.”

The Association of Unmanned Vehicles International published an economic impact study in March projecting, once airspace is opened to UAS, the economic impact would be about $8 billion statewide, and $260 million in South Texas over the next 10 years; creating about 1,200 jobs. For more information, click HERE.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will also conduct several test flights over South Texas ranchland this week to continue research and training on the RS-16 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Celebration speakers were Killebrew; Jim Schwertner, Texas A&M System Regent; John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M System; Texas House Chairman Todd Hunter; and Nelda Martinez, Mayor of Corpus Christi. The evening included a reception, program, display of the University’s UASs, and video of the flights. The first 500 attendees received a balsa wood plane.