By Elaine Bryant, Executive Vice President for Aerospace and Defense
These assets strengthen Dayton’s already strong ecosystem for aerospace research, testing and manufacturing.
On Dec. 10, officials from the Dayton Region, the State of Ohio and the U.S. Air Force gathered at the Springfield Beckley Airport for an important event. They were there to break ground for something that’s sure to bolster the region’s already outstanding reputation as a center of aviation and aerospace innovation – a charging station and a simulator facility for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
Vermont-based BETA Technologies and California-based Joby Aviation are bringing their eVTOL simulators to the airport as part of Agility Prime, an initiative of the U.S. Air Force to develop the commercial market for advanced air mobility (AAM) aircraft and create a robust domestic industry and supply chain to support their development and production. The simulators will allow pilots to gain experience flying eVTOL aircraft in a controlled environment.
BETA will also build an eVTOL electric charging station, the first one in Ohio and just the third one in the U.S. It will look very similar to BETA’s first charging station, located in Burlington, Vermont, the company’s headquarters. The one-story modular structure has an elevated landing pad for eVTOL. The back side contains the actual charging station, which uses battery energy storage to ensure a rapid recharge as well as independence from the utility grid. The front side features a control center, a crew rest area and crew quarters where pilots can sleep overnight when needed.
Commercialization of electric aircraft will require an infrastructure for charging. We’ll need energy efficient, rapid recharge systems, whether they’re stand-alone fast-charge inverters or complete recharge stations as described above, to charge both fully autonomous and human-piloted electric aircraft. In simpler terms, we need rest stops where electric flying cars can easily and quickly recharge.
It’s exciting to think that Ohio will have one of the very first charging stations in the country not to mention eVTOL simulators. As Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition, said at the groundbreaking, building a charging station and simulator at the Springfield Beckley Airport once again puts both Dayton and the State of Ohio on the leading edge of aerospace research and development and shows that we’re committed to building the best possible ecosystem for aerospace, aviation and advanced mobility companies.
We already have Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the Air Force Research Lab, which is playing a major role in the Agility Prime initiative. We have the Ohio Unmanned Aerial Systems Center, located at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport, which serves as the state's one-stop shop for unmanned aircraft and advanced aviation technologies. The airport is also home to SkyVision, a beyond-visual-line-of-site range operated in partnership with the AFRL and the State of Ohio. A lot of pioneering work to integrate unmanned systems into the National Airspace System, a critical aspect of developing air taxi technology, is taking place at the Ohio UAS Center.
But the simulators and charging station take Dayton and Ohio to the next level.
We’re looking forward to welcoming Joby, BETA and other advanced air mobility innovators to Ohio. We have the resources these companies need to research, test, develop, use and commercialize eVTOL and other advanced air mobility solutions.