Skyborne, county celebrate airport purchase today

Company and local officials are flying high over the recently announced expansion of Skyborne Technology.

Skyborne and partner Unmanned Systems, Inc. (USI) will be demonstrating some of the reasons why beginning at 12 p.m. ET today at Costin Airport off Rutherford Road in Port St. Joe.

County and company officials, with, they are urging, a good turnout from the public, will be celebrating the recent purchase of the airport by Skyborne and USI, which expands the companies’ footprint in Gulf County, bolstering training and operational capabilities.

The airport will be used by Skyborne and USI for flight operations, manufacturing and training pilots in unmanned systems.

“We are looking forward to the upcoming airship and drone test flights at Costin Airport as this is strategic for our customer base in Central America and the Caribbean as a one-stop shop for inspection of the technologies,” said Dr. Carlos Arzu, President of Skyborne Central America.

Skyborne opened its first United States facility at the Gulf County Industrial Park in Dalkeith in September and USI has since come on as a partner.

The purchase of Costin Airport, a natural fit for Skyborne, has been in negotiation for months.

“Skyborne Technology staying the course of developing facilities and operations in both ends of the county has been a beacon of hope during our community’s response to and recovery from Hurricane Michael,” said Jim McKnight, director of the county’s Economic Development Coalition.

In addition to remarks from local officials and a bit of cake-cutting and gobbling, the companies will also demonstrate some of their drone technology.

Further, Gulf Coast State College will have students and instructors on hand to offer insight into some of the work being undertaken at the college with unmanned aircraft technology, McKnight said.

Skyborne is a developer, designer and manufacturer of manned and unmanned aviation systems and has already hired several county residents for its manufacturing work at the Industrial Park.

The company has become, McKnight said, something of an agent of “good news” in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

USI is a manufacturer of unmanned systems and drones and the company has announced it will be moving a portion of its manufacturing and training to Gulf County.

“Skyborne Technology and Unmanned Systems will help build employment in Gulf County to further develop the educational needs in high tech manned and unmanned systems,” said Don Bintz, President of Unmanned Systems.

The connection with GCSC was codified as Skyborne moved to Gulf County.

In addition, Gulf District Schools has received grant funding to establish a curriculum in unmanned aviation in the coming year.

″(Along with efforts in the public schools and at GCSC) these companies are poised to fully develop and deploy these transformational technologies, becoming a magnet for high tech opportunity in the region,” said John Holdnak, President of GCSC.

Skyborne chose Gulf County as the site for its first U.S. facility for a variety of reasons, including the link between new technologies and the military, state and local economic development support, and local assets such as plenty of water.

Skyborne, with existing facilities in Central and South America, is at the cutting edge of aviation systems, designing and developing manned and unmanned technology with a variety of applications.

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