In 1903, eastern North Carolina was home to the Wright Brothers’ first flight. Now – 120 years later – the region is still leading the way in aviation through our booming aerospace industry. Dozens of companies that provide manufacturing, research, or support to the aerospace and aviation sector are located in eastern North Carolina, taking advantage of the area’s plentiful resources and assets for the industry.


As a major hub for aviation innovation, the North Carolina Global TransPark is a world-class, 2,500-acre multimodal, industrial, and business park located in Lenoir County. It’s home to the Spirit AeroSystems Composite Center of Excellence, a 33,000-square-foot training center. Operated by Lenoir Community College, it features a composites training lab which is designed to serve the growing aerospace industry through customized training programs for aerospace in composite and sheet metal manufacturing and repair. The center also focuses on workforce education and training for marine and wind energy organizations. 


There are many FAA-certified training programs at community colleges in eastern North Carolina designed to strengthen the aerospace and aviation workforce. This includes aviation sheet metal training, on-board diagnostics, and aviation maintenance as well as the following degree program options:

Lenoir Community College

Aviation Management

Manned Pilot

Pilot Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Career Pilot Manned

Wayne Community College

Aviation Systems Technology

Craven Community College

Aviation Management and Career Pilot Technology

Aviation Systems Technology


The Fleet Readiness Center East aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in Craven County provides world-class maintenance, engineering and logistics support for Navy and Marine Corps aviation, as well as other armed services, federal agencies and foreign governments. Its skilled workforce uses state-of-the-art technology to ensure that FRCE is without equal in providing quality, cost-effective support. FRCE is North Carolina's largest maintenance, repair and overhaul and technical services provider with more than 4,000 military, civilian and contract workers. 


The Center’s mission is to maintain and operate facilities for and perform a complete range of depot level rework operations on designated weapon systems, accessories, and equipment; manufacture parts and assemblies as required; provide engineering services in the development of changes of hardware design; furnish technical services on aircraft maintenance and logistic problems; and perform, upon specific request or assignment, other levels of aircraft maintenance.

Through workforce training partnerships with ECU’s College of Engineering and Technology, students have the opportunity to work at FRCE as part of the Engineering Developmental Assistance Program (EDAP). This program trains engineering students who have interest in working in the aviation field with electrical, industrial, and mechanical systems.

Innovative Industry Sectors

Food & Beverage
Machinery & Metals
Wood & Paper Products
Chemicals & Plastics

industry leaders

Military Bases

Fleet Readiness Center East
Fly Exclusive
Spirit AeroSystems
Sesame Technologies
Pilot John International
Carolina GSE