Dale County’s Aviation and Aerospace Advantage

Helicopter flying above tree lineHome to 25 percent of South Alabama’s Aerospace Industry, Dale County is a major contributor to Alabama’s rich aviation history and innovation. Fort Novosel, in the county's southwest corner, is known as the “Home of U.S. Army Aviation” because of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence. Fort Novosel is a primary training facility for most of the military helicopter pilots in the free world. Defense contractors are in demand.

Everything from flight simulator cockpit design to training to maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) is happening in Dale County. Local colleges such as the Alabama Aviation College’s main campus and Wallace College provide employers with a reliable stream of aerospace-ready employees to hire. Regional assets are rounded out by Dothan Regional Airport, Ozark’s Blackwell Field, and multiple U.S. Military airfields. Dale County has no shortage of commercial, general, and military aviation pilots, and our people rely on their services.

Sampling of Dale County Aerospace and Aviation Companies:

Download the Dale County Aerospace & Military Industry Profile


Globalstar Aerospace LLC logo 
"Dale County has been a tremendous community for allowing my business to grow. The aviation resources in the area have provided a fitting background for my industry. I was able to grow my business in the safe, secure, low-cost environment of the Ozark Technology Center for Developing Industry as the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development team helped to transition me through the growth stage into a stand-alone, fully functioning company”
– Todd McGarvey, President/Owner, GlobalStar Aerospace, LLC
PRODUCTS/SERVICES: FAA Certified Repair Station
Brauer Aerospace
"Brauer Aerospace has been in Dale County since 1983 and we’ve been able to consistently find workers with the skills we require. Our company will continue to invest in growing our business here.”
– Mike Brauer, Owner, Brauer Aerospace Products
PRODUCTS/SERVICES: Aircraft parts and equipment

Excellence in Aviation

Dale County Airport Assets

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Dothan Regional Airport

The Dothan Regional Airport is the region’s largest airport. Approximately 80,000 commercial air passengers pass through Dothan Regional Airport annually, flying Delta connection partners through Atlanta to destinations worldwide. Dothan Regional Airport includes 1,200 acres of land, an 8500′ all-weather runway, a 5000′ secondary runway, and a 27,000-square-foot terminal building. Additional buildings on the airfield are occupied by Commercial Jet (MRO), FlightSafety International, and two Fixed-Base Operators: Aero-One and Flightline of Dothan. The airport operates with full-time police and fire presence and owns state-of-the-art firefighting equipment. Modern navigational facilities guide and operate all types of aircraft in all types of weather in and out of the Wiregrass Region.

Dothan Regional Airport is busy in terms of takeoffs and landings, with 90,000 aircraft operations annually. Soldiers training in military aircraft account for 55 percent of the flights. General aviation activities comprise 41 percent of aircraft activity, while commercial air service is 4 percent of activity.

Dothan Regional Airport is self-supporting, generating revenue from the users of the airport. Approximately twenty businesses and agencies with activity at the airport pay rent, landing fees, and other charges. Dothan Airport Industrial Park allows for further development and income.

Ozark Airport Blackwell Field

Blackwell Field is a 114-acre public-use airport located southeast of the Central Business District of Ozark. Commercial and general aviators call this modern airfield with a 5,152’ paved runway home. Several businesses, along with the Alabama Aviation College campus, are centered at Blackwell. Acreage is available adjacent to the airfield as a convenient option for new rotary and fixed wing aviation companies, as well as air cargo.

Aerospace Alliance

Alabama is a member of the Aerospace Alliance, joining Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Together they comprise a four-state world-class aerospace, aviation, and space corridor. By working together, the Alliance has promoted industry growth by attracting significant research, manufacturing, testing, and operational facilities. Four NASA space facilities, more than 40 military installations, 60+ universities offering engineering programs, and hundreds of MRO facilities call the region home.

Aviation and Aerospace Simulation

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Aviation simulators are a billion-dollar industry in Dale County, with companies investing in equipment at Fort Novosel and in Daleville, Dothan, and Ozark. Simulations recreate a system or event for pilots to gain field experience and understanding by allowing experimentation with complex circumstances while minimizing risks. Additionally, reports show that training in a simulator is up to 20 percent less expensive than real-life training. Both fixed wing and rotary training simulators comprise the aviation simulation industry of Dale County.

Some of the Dale County companies include:

Aerospace Engineering

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Auburn University's Samuel Ginn College of Engineering is the aerospace engineering campus for South and Central Alabama. The engineering students take required coursework in aeronautical and astronautical systems; the design of aerospace components and systems plays a key role in their education. It is Auburn's largest and highest-ranked college, with approximately 5,300 undergraduate and 1,100 graduate students.

Alabama Aviation College

The Alabama Aviation College, a unit of Enterprise State Community College (ESCC), is the only training facility in the southeastern United States with the primary mission of preparing technicians to work in the aviation industry. Courses in industrial maintenance, welding and other technical aviation skills are offered, as well as dual-enrollment for high school juniors and seniors. Apply for admission here.

Course Offerings

Advanced Composites
The Advanced Composite program prepares students to work in industries such as aerospace, automotive, bridge building, marine, sporting goods, and parts assembly. This program introduces basic composite materials, techniques, and procedures and progresses through advanced composite skills.

Airframe & Powerplant
Also known as an aircraft maintenance technician, an A&P mechanic holds an Airframe and/or Powerplant (A&P) certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). An A&P license qualifies a technician as a general mechanic to work on aircraft.

Avionics encompasses all electronic devices and systems that perform individualized functions on aircraft. Avionics technicians install and troubleshoot equipment on fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL)
Commercial truck driving is a higher-level driving profession. The six-week Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program at ESCC provides the comprehensive, technical training necessary to obtain a Class “A” CDL in Alabama.

Computer Numerical Control (CNC)
The CNC Machining Program prepares students for a high-demand, entry-level position as a CNC machine operator, machine setup technician, or quality inspector. CNC operators work in a variety of manufacturing environments and are trained to program, set up, and operate a CNC machine, inspect parts, and perform production runs.

Mechatronics is a program for students interested in industrial automation jobs. Mechatronics is one of the world’s largest high-tech manufacturing fields that incorporates electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering.

AAC Certificates
The Alabama Aviation College offers a wide range of certificate programs which can be more flexible and less costly than a traditional associate degree. General education requirements that are part of a traditional associate degree program are not required.

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Airframe Technology
  • Powerplant Technology
  • Basic Industrial Electronics
  • Basic Industrial Mechanics
  • Computer Numerical Control (CNC)
  • Operator/Programmer Electro-Mechanical Maintenance Technician

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Federal, state, and institutional financial aid is available to help students and families. Educational benefits are also available to veteran service members and their dependents from all branches of the military. Additionally, ESCC awards over $500,000 in scholarships annually for merit, leadership, talent, athletic ability, and more. The scholarship deadline is March 1st.

Types Of Financial Assistance:

  • Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Loans
  • Work Study
  • Veterans Education Programs

Additional Aviation Workforce Training

In addition to Alabama Aviation College, training in aerospace, aviation, and supporting industries is offered at Wallace Community College and Fort Novosel - U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence. For employers, there are a number of state and regional training programs, some customizable.

Fort Novosel - Army Aviation Center of Excellence serves as the headquarters for Army Aviation. While the garrison command manages the daily operations of the Fort Rucker community, the Aviation Branch Headquarters develops, coordinates, and deploys aviation operations, training, and doctrine. There are nearly 25,000 people posted at Fort Rucker. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) training at Fort Rucker provides year-round helicopter pilot training to 1,400+ pilots from 27 countries.

Degrees in welding, industrial automation technology, and industrial maintenance are some of the programs that make Dale County's Wallace Community College an essential partner in our aviation and aerospace workforce.

State and Regional Training Programs Available for Employers

  • AIDT
    Helps new or expanding companies find and train workers at no cost to the company.
  • Alabama Career Center
    Provides job training to businesses with a reimbursement of up to 50 percent of hourly wage paid to a trainee.
  • Alabama Technology Network
    Focused on manufacturing, ATN helps fulfill the needs of industry and business through innovative and cost effective solutions based on detailed needs assessments.

South Alabama Aerospace Firms

Dale County is the hub of aviation in South Alabama as the home of Fort Novosel as well as 25 percent of South Alabama’s Aerospace businesses. Dale County’s aviation industries are diversified in maintenance, repair, overhaul, simulation, flight training, and engineering.

Company & Website NAICS1 Description
Bradley Aviation Aviation Maintenance and Repair
Brauer Aerospace Products Helicopter Parts
CAE Dothan Training Center Flight Training
Commercial Jet Inc. Aircraft Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (converting 737s to freight planes)
DynaFlight Training Center Aircraft Training Simulators
Globalstar Aerospace, LLC Aircraft Repair and Maintenance
The Kearns Group Aviation Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul
Lewis Aviation Aviation Training
M1 Support Services Other Support Activities for Air Transportation
Nowell Aviation, LLC Aviation Maintenance and Repair
Pray Aviation Aviation Training
Sunshine Aeronautical Aviation Maintenance and Repair
Waltham Aircraft Clock Corporation Aircraft Parts Mfg. - Panel Clocks