SPRINGFIELD—The Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport received a $226,000 grant from JobsOhio’s Ohio Site Inventory Program (OSIP) for infrastructure work to support charging stations and flight simulators for eVTOL vehicles.
BETA Technologies and Joby Aviation have quickly established a presence at the airport as part of their work for the Air Force’s Agility Prime program. The Air Force launched Agility Prime in 2019 to accelerate the commercial market for advanced air mobility aircraft and create a robust domestic industry and supply chain to support their development and production.
Both companies are leaders in advanced air mobility vehicles, also known as eVTOLs, air taxis or flying cars. In August, BETA and Joby announced plans to bring flight simulators to the airport in 2021. The companies officially broke ground on the simulators in December, the same day BETA opened its first Rapid Recharge System at the airport. The OSIP grant covers site preparation, utility extensions, an access drive, and parking area for the facilities for the $1.2 million project.
“The infrastructure improvements at Springfield-Beckley are another critical step in positioning Ohio as a leader in the eVTOL industry,” said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO. “Through collaboration with many Ohio partners, and JobsOhio investment through the Ohio Site Inventory Program, Springfield-Beckley will expand with the infrastructure needed to support the coming growth from these aerospace advancements.”
The technology is anticipated to revolutionize transportation and spur the growth of a new industry. The simulators allow pilots to gain experience in a controlled environment, while the charging stations establish Springfield as one of the first stations in a growing network that will enable BETA’s aircraft travel longer distances.
“Springfield is the perfect location for the emerging eVTOL industry, combining proximity to Air Force partners at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with easy access to the region’s experts in aerospace, energy storage and manufacturing,” said Julie Sullivan, the Dayton Development Coalition’s executive vice president for regional development. “Expanding the airport’s infrastructure will ensure Springfield can support additional growth.”
JobsOhio launched OSIP in 2020 to help fill the gap in the state’s site inventory portfolio through investment in sites that have a proven demand or economic benefit. The program will award $50 million annually in grants and loans through 2024, for a total of $250 million. These dollars will be for spec-based development opportunities, and do not require an end-user to be identified.
“We are thrilled to host this groundbreaking innovation at Springfield-Beckley airport. Springfield has a rich history of innovation and development, including aviation,” said Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland. “JobsOhio’s Ohio Site Inventory Program will help us continue that tradition through this exciting partnership with BETA Technologies and Joby Aviation in support of the Air Force’s Agility Prime program.”
While Springfield’s airspace for testing of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities supports unmanned aircraft, it also conducts pioneering work into how to integrate unmanned systems into National Airspace System, a critical aspect of developing eVTOL technology.
Ohio’s work in developing research capabilities for unmanned aerial systems makes it an ideal place for Agility Prime contractors to establish operations. Advanced technology to support testing, research and manufacturing, a strong network of collaborative partners, and proximity to leading institutions and talented workforce combine to create a strong ecosystem to support air taxis.