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Aerospace & Aviation

Alabama has a rich history in aerospace and aviation — an industry that took off on our soil more than a century ago. Ever since the Wright Brothers established the nation’s first civilian flight school in Montgomery back in 1910, Alabama has provided a steady launchpad for companies and organizations involved in flight.

Alabama’s presence in the aerospace and aviation industry is broad and vast, with activities in virtually every segment of the sector. Aerospace manufacturing alone accounts for over 16,000 jobs in the state, while Alabama also ranks among the Top 5 states for aerospace engineers. 

Over 300 aerospace companies from more than 30 different countries have chosen Alabama, including industry giants such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, GE  Aviation, Raytheon and GKN Aerospace. Another of these giants is Airbus, which now produces its A320 Family passenger jets at a new $600 million manufacturing facility in Mobile.

In addition to private companies, Alabama also has a strong military aerospace/aviation presence. Located in Southeast Alabama, Fort Rucker serves as the training center for U.S. Army helicopter pilots. In Huntsville, Redstone Arsenal is a major research, engineering, and test center that houses the Army’s critical missile defense and aviation programs. The Arsenal is also home to the Marshall Space Flight Center, one of NASA’s largest and most historic facilities. Another aerospace cluster is developing in the Mobile area around the Airbus assembly line.

Alabama’s comprehensive aerospace/aviation presence also includes an extensive roster of training programs and assets. AIDT’s Robotics Technology Park near Decatur offers specialized training in robotics and automation programs, and AIDT operates an aviation training center in Mobile. In addition, the Alabama Community College System’s Alabama Aviation Center, which has several locations across the state, offers FAA-certified training in airframe and engine maintenance.

Quick Facts

  • 100+ years of aerospace and aviation history
  • 61,000+ employed in aerospace and defense
  • 4,200 aerospace engineers (5th most in US)
  • Home to businesses from 30 countries
  • 2nd largest research and technology park in the U.S. (Cummings Research Park)
  • More than 300 aerospace companies
  • Aerospace manufacturing employed more than 12,300 in 2015
  • More than $867 million in aerospace equipment and parts exported in 2015
  • More than $8.4 billion in Department of Defense contracts in FY 2015

Companies

  • Airbus
  • Boeing
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Continental Motors
  • United Launch Alliance
  • PPG Aerospace
  • WestWind Group
  • Sikorsky
  • Airbus Military NA
  • Raytheon
  • UTC Aerospace Systems
  • SAIC
  • GKN Aerospace
  • Lockheed Martin
  • GE Aviation
  • BAE Systems
  • VT Aerospace Mobile
  • Aerojet Rocketdyne
  • Teledyne Brown Engineering
  • Commercial Jet
  • Dynetics
  • CAE USA

Aviation Training

  • AIDT
  • ACCS Alabama Aviation Center
  • Fort Rucker
  • CAE Training for Fixed-Wing  Army Aviators

Aerospace Engineering Departments at Alabama Universities

These Alabama universities offer degrees in Aerospace Engineering:

  • Auburn University
  • University of Alabama
  • Tuskegee University
  • University of Alabama – Huntsville

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