What does the Aviation Division do?

The Division is responsible for all aviation functions regarding state system planning, airport and aviation system development, and provides funding to communities for constructing and improving airports throughout the state. North Carolina has 72 publicly-owned airports and nearly 300 privately-owned airports. Ten airports have regularly scheduled airline service; four serve international destinations. There are more than 7,000 registered aircraft based in the state and 15,000 licensed pilots. More than 47 million passengers fly to and from North Carolina each year and more than 800 million pounds of air freight originate annually in the state.

Parked airplane

The services we offer include NCDOT State Aircraft Services and Safety & Education Support.

NCDOT & State Aircraft Services

The Division of Aviation is also responsible for the operations and maintenance of DOT's two twin engine aircraft. The aircraft provide a range of services such as:

  • Aerial Photography & Spatial Information Products for Transporation Projects
  • Passenger Service
  • Aviation Safety
  • Statewide Emergency Response

For more information about what the Division can offer you in regards to Aircraft Services, Contact Us.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft

Unmanned, or small remotely piloted aircraft, can greatly enhance agriculture by helping farmers survey crops from the air to identify drought or disease concerns.

The N.C. Department of Transportation is currently partnering with the Department of Commerce, North Carolina State University and others to bring this new technology to our state's farmers.

The program uses small hand-launched planes that are four to six feet long and weigh about 10 pounds. Each remote plane can be equipped with photography/video equipment and sensors that record soil conditions.

Researchers worked with NCDOT to establish a test site in a rural Hyde County to fly the small remotely-piloted planes over non-residential farmland and collect samples.

In addition to the significant contribution to the agriculture industry, this research could also benefit future disaster relief efforts and search and rescue technology.

NCDOT is working with the state’s Chief Information Officer to develop policies and a data management system required for safe operation while protecting citizen privacy.

The Federal Aviation Administration certifies and closely monitors all aircraft, including any unmanned, remotely-piloted planes used at this test site.

Safety & Education Support

The NCDOT Division of Aviation, Safety and Education Section, is dedicated to keeping North Carolina "First in Flight" and "First in Safety." We work to create and promote safety and educational events throughout the year. Content for programs is based on information received from accident data via the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations “Nall Report.” Customer demand and trends also play an important role in our activities. NCDOT typically teams up with the FAA, state/federal government, aviation industry representatives, volunteer groups and other organizations to provide educational opportunities for aviation groups and the general public. Event types we help sponsor include:

  • Pilot Education Events
  • Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) and Inspection Authorization (IA) Education and license renewal Programs
  • General Public and Youth Aviation Education Programs

For more information about what the Division can offer you in regards to Safety & Education Support, Contact Us.

Listed below are specific programs supported by the Division of Aviation. For more information regarding current event dates view our Aviation Events Calendar.

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associatrion (AOPA) Air Safety Foundation Courses

We are excited to sponsor and partner with the AOPA ASF to bring high quality, professional presentations to North Carolina. As one of our most highly attended programs, pilots will agree that the AOPA ASF courses are well worth the time to attend. Typically seminars are co-located with our Fall and Spring Wings Fly-in events with an additional tour of 3 to 4 locations the week following the Wings Fly-in events.

NC Annual Soaring Safety Summit

Soaring Safety Summit brings together soaring pilots from North Carolina and the East Coast. This exciting event is an effort to serve the needs of a unique community of aviators who fly unpowered aircraft. Many regional soaring organizations, the NC Division of Aviation, and the FAA have come together to sponsor this event.

Helicopter Safety Summit

NCDOT Aviation co-sponsors an annual Helicopter Safety Summit bringing in industry experts and representatives for presentations on new technology, regulations and trends. Topics are selected by studying accident data, industry technology and customer demand.

Mountain Flying Clinics

On a bi-annual basis the NCDOT Aviation co-sponsors a Mountain Flying Clinic consisting of seminars and flight training provided by experienced mountain flying instructors. The goal of this program is to provide lectures along with practical experience for maximum learning. We are working with local representatives to capture pilots visiting western North Carolina into this educational program through Aeronautical Chart safety messages, mailers, posters and peak visitation class scheduling.

NC Spring/Fall Wings Pilot Proficiency Program

This event features a combination of safety seminars, flight proficiency training, aviation exhibitors, and a pilot appreciation banquet. At Wings, pilots will be able to attend informative safety seminars and fly with a flight instructor. This event qualifies under the FAA's Pilot Proficiency Program, also known as the Wings Program. The Wings Program allows pilots to meet their mandatory FAA training requirements (FAA Flight Review) by successfully completing a combination of online and lecture classes, then receiving flight training from a FAA Certified Flight Instructor. Pilots are required to fly to a "performance standard" to meet the FAA's Wings requirements. This program was started to encourage pilots to receive training on a more frequent basis than the FAA minimum of every 2 years. Participants can earn a Basic, Advance or Master Pilot level award by completing the ground and flight training requirements on a revolving yearly basis. Topics for online and lecture classes are based on current accident data provided by the FAA, NTSB and the AOPA’s "Nall Report."

Pilots certificated as Sport Pilot or higher are eligible to fly with a flight instructor during the event for a complete training experience. Bring your own aircraft or choose from a limited supply of rental aircraft and you will be on your way to your earning your Wings! Don't forget about the Saturday evening "Pilot Appreciation Banquet". This banquet promises food, folks, fun and a special banquet speaker for all those who sign up.

Flight Instructor Workshops

It has been long understood that the best way to evoke positive change in pilot education is through the FAA Certified Flight Instructor. Initiated by the FAA, NCDOT Aviation is co-sponsoring an aggressive program to offer 32 Flight Instructor Workshops across North Carolina on a yearly basis. Topics are targeted using current accident data, trends and expert opinion.

Aviation Maintenace Technician (AMT)/Inspection Authorization (IA) Safety Programs

Aviation maintenance safety is an important component to flight safety. We take the job of educating AMTs seriously in North Carolina. AMTs can attend 2 hour seminars held in many locations across the state for the attainment of an FAA AMT Awards Program and IA Renewal requirements. This program allows AMTs to earn a Bronze, Silver or Gold level award depending on how much training is received throughout the year. We have partnered with industry to offer programmed instruction and educational facility tours for a dynamic offering of educational opportunities.

AMTs with an advanced IA standing can complete their yearly 8 hour training requirement (if applicable) by attend four, 2 hour programs or yearly one day 8 hour events. Eight hours events are typically held in March of every year corresponding with the IA renewal month requirement.

Flying Companion Course

This course is designed for persons that are described as "frequent flyers" in general aviation aircraft. The goal of the Companion Pilot Course is to give participants “flight confidence” through a better understanding of the aircraft systems and operations. Opportunities to fly with an FAA Certified Flight Instructor are also available during many of these events.

General Public Education

NCDOT Aviation will bring a speaker to your group to talk about aviation, airports, aviation safety and/or state government aviation. It is our belief that the more the general public knows about aviation the better off everyone is at understanding the unique opportunities and challenges that exist in this great industry.

Youth Aviation Education

NCDOT Aviation realizes the importance of supporting youth aviation education in our state. We do this through the co-sponsorship of an Aviation Explorer Post, "A Day at the Airport" programs, Aviation Youth Camps, career days and educational materials.

EAA's Young Eagle Flights

The Division of Aviation supports the Experiment Aircraft Associations (EAA) "Young Eagles Program." This program goes beyond talking about flying or "hangar flying" as pilots call it, to getting kid's ages 8-17 years old in an aircraft for a trilling airplane ride. The Division of Aviation supports state EAA Chapter efforts through co-sponsorship of events and materials. To get your child involved or to volunteer visit their web site (below):

North Carolina Military Bases

When flying in eastern North Carolina pilots will often find themselves near active military airfeilds or training airspace. In order to ensure the safety of both general aviation and military pilots the military has created an excellent website for pilots called See and Avoid. In addition the 4th Fighter Wing based at Seymour Johnson AFB has published a helpful pamphlet explaining their operations.