Co-Chairs Senator DeSteph and Delegate Delaney welcome attendees to the Virginia Aviation and Aerospace Caucus.

VASBA President Jonathan Kelly presents to the Caucus.

We were grateful to have so many industry stakeholders participate in the Caucus the morning following the VABA Legislative Reception.

Co-Chairs Senator DeSteph and Delegate Delaney received awards and recognition for revitalizing the Caucus. Pictured with Caucus founder, former Delegate Rich Anderson, Lt. Governor Winsome Earl-Sears, VABA Chairman Jim Hopkins, and VABA President Bud Oakey.

The VABA Celebrates a Monumental Legislative Season!

Reaching New Heights with the VGAAC 

In 2016 former Delegate, Rich Anderson, and industry stakeholders launched what is now known as the Virginia General Assembly Aviation and Aerospace Caucus (VGAAC). The 2017 session marked the first meetings of the VGAAC with the mission to “educate, promote, and protect the aviation industry in the Commonwealth of Virginia.” This session, Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, Co-Chairs, Delegate Karrie Delaney and Senator Bill DeSteph, and Co-Vice Chairs Senator Russet Perry and Delegate Paul Milde, revitalized the Caucus after 6 years of dormancy. The Caucus heard from 13 organizations, each presenting on a wide range of topics. The presentations can be found on the VABA website here.


Many of the presentations highlighted programs that invest in education to develop the future workforce of the aviation industry. Shenandoah University spoke about its partnerships that introduce aviation to children at an early age to then develop this interest into an aviation career through its Advanced Air Mobility Network. The Virginia Space Grant Consortium highlighted its summer programs such as Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars, a 3-week program for high school students in which they design a mission to Mars, and the STEM Industry Internship which connects Virginia undergraduates with paid internships in the aviation industry. All of these programs work to expose students to potential opportunities with an aviation career from air traffic control to mechanics and pilots.


Discussions from the Caucus continued from education to the development of new technology. NASA Langley and NASA Wallops both presented, highlighting the importance of research in a multitude of different sectors of aviation and aerospace. Boeing featured its emerging technologies like Wisk, a company creating a self-flying electric aircraft, and Aurora, an aerial system to track wildfires and enable more effective firefighting. Skydio discussed with legislators the importance of developing policy that encourages U.S.-manufactured drones to protect cybersecurity since China manufactures most drones. These technology discussions are essential in making sure Virginia remains a leader in all aspects of the aviation and aerospace industry.


Not only did the Caucus hear from industry stakeholders, leading to strong discussions, their work also included important legislative items. HB 446, relating to abandoned or derelict aircrafts, is an essential piece of legislation giving airports a path to remove abandoned or derelict aircrafts. In addition, included in the House Budget report is Amendment 130, which would fund twenty-five, 45-hour flight training scholarships.


The 2024 session was essential in renewing these important conversations, and we are grateful for the participation in this year’s Caucus. While the 2024 legislative session is coming to a close, we look forward to the opportunity to engage both industry leaders and legislators in continuing the discussion and visiting some of the programs that were discussed in the off session.

Thank you to our 2024 Legislative Reception Sponsors!

The generous contributions, incredible exhibits, logistical support, and friendship of these organizations was the key driver of success for this year's event. We hope you will join us in supporting their work.

Photos courtesy of VIPC. Click here to see a full gallery of photos from the Virginia Unmanned Systems and AAM Stakeholder Meeting and the VABA Legislative Reception.

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