First In Flight


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First in Flight Sponsored Section Cary-based Lord Corp. builds rotor-hub bearings for every V-22 Osprey, some of which are based at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville and maintained at Fleet Readiness Center East in Cherry Point. About 15% of Lord's sales are from the government. From takeoff to landing North Carolina's expanding aerospace and aviation industry supplies the technology and equipment that keeps the world Áying. By D. Lawrence Bivins A to customers and suppliers, support from state government and a pool of talent while also satisfying his desire to be near home. The aerospace and aviation industry he found on his return was a far cry from the one he left in the 1990s. "When I moved out of the state 15 years ago there really wasn't much of an aerospace industry in North Carolina. That has really changed." In the state where human Áight was pioneered more than a century ago, aviation and aerospace companies continue to reach new heights. These businesses work in every facet of the industry, from original designs to repairs, many times serving as each other's customers and suppliers. The roster stretches from Wood Dale, Ill.-based AAR Corp.'s AAR Aircraft Services Inc., which makes air-cargo loading s an engineer eager to make a mark on his Àeld, Scott Bledsoe moved from North Carolina to Italy, Kansas, Georgia and California to design safety and efÀciency systems for aircraft. "Being an aerospace worker, I've always had to go where the work is," Bledsoe says. In 2010, almost two decades after the Winston-Salem native received his degree from N.C. State University in Raleigh, he honed a business plan and gathered the resources for his own startup. "It was the Àrst time I got to choose where I would live." Still, Bledsoe needed a backdrop that made business sense, so he opened his Blue Force Technologies Inc. in Morrisville, whose proximity to Research Triangle Park offers advantages such as access Gold Sponsors: A L B E M A R L E E C O N O M I C D E V E LO P M E N T C O M M I S S I O N 2 B u s i n e s s n o r t h C a r o l i n a

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