WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — The Wright Brothers took flight for the very first time on the Outer Banks 119 years ago Saturday. On the anniversary of that flight, a unique event was held at the Washington Warren Airport.

The airport’s first-ever Washington-Warren Air & Drone Show honored the flying accomplishments of the Wright Brothers and the special day in our state’s history. It’s also a grand opening of a partnership between the airport, the City of Washington and a drone technology firm called Xelevate, which opes to put Beaufort County on the map.

“It is a dream come true, not just for Earl but a lot of people in the community,” said Earl Malpass, director of the airport. “The businesses that are interested, to have more and more people come to Beaufort County and its gonna be a destination. it’s gonna improve the income, the pay, the job opportunities, it’s gonna diversify the industry.”

NC Rep. Keith Kidwell, who represents the 79th district, said before Saturday’s event Xelevate was looking for a destination in the state to grow the drone and aviation industry.

“Knowing we had just allocated $20 million to North Carolina through the North Carolina General Assembly to the Washington Warren Airport, I knew that we would be the perfect fit for them.

“So I spoke with them several times, got them to come out and visit, they fell in love with it.”

Kidwell also said because there’s such a shortage in the drone and aviation industry, they are already working on getting more people, including the younger generation, interested.

“Listen, people are flying drones at 17, 18, 19 years old, getting paid anywhere from $100 to $300 an hour,” Kidwell said. “It’s so easy for kids because it ties the technology they’re used to with the cellphone right to the drone because you can literally operate most drones from your cellphone and they love it.”