Mark Blanks brings extensive experience in aviation and unmanned systems to his role as the director of the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, where he leads an FAA-designated test site and manages the operations of Virginia’s team in the UAS Integration Pilot Program. Both programs have consistently broken new ground in the industry and become national models for safe, evidence-based, results-oriented UAS integration into the national airspace — a testament to Blanks’ combination of natural leadership skills and hands-on experience with a deep understanding of the aviation systems industry.
Blanks has also led successful UAS programs at Kansas State University and Middle Tennessee State University. He is an FAA-licensed Airframe & Powerplant technician and holds a private pilot’s license with an instrument rating; his broad experience in the aviation industry includes aircraft maintenance, flight testing, and aircraft certification. Blanks currently chairs the ASTM F38-02 Subcommittee on UAS Flight Operations and has served on the AUVSI Board of Directors. He holds a master’s degree in aviation systems and a bachelor’s degree in aerospace maintenance management.