Alabama’s aerospace and defense industry currently employs 83,000 people and is home to 400 aerospace companies from 30 different countries.
Lt. Governor Ivey chairs the Aerospace States Association, “the Voice of Aerospace for the States,” a nonpartisan organization of Lt. Governors, Governor-appointed delegates, and associate members from aerospace organizations and academia. ASA represents states’ interests in federal aerospace and aviation policy development. As a result of her involvement with ASA, Lt. Governor Ivey was honored to receive the National American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Public Service Award in 2016.
Alabama has a long and proud history in the aviation and aerospace industry, going back to 1910 when Wilbur and Orville Wright opened the nation's first civilian flying school just outside Montgomery. Today, that facility is Maxwell Air Force Base, home to Air University. In addition to the education programs at Maxwell, our state is home to the U.S. Army’s aviation training facility, Fort Rucker.
Alabamians sent man to the moon. Dr. Wernher von Braun and his team of scientists designed, built, and tested the Saturn moon rockets at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. Today, the engineers at Marshall are working on the next generation of vehicles, the Space Launch System, which will take us to Mars and beyond.
The state’s aerospace industry continues to grow in new areas as well. Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile is the newest major industry cluster, where Airbus and its suppliers are now turning out completed A321 aircraft. The Auburn University Aviation Center now hosts the nation’s first FAA-approved unmanned aircraft flight school, providing a new avenue into the future of aviation.