A groundbreaking ceremony to build an Urban Air Mobility simulator facility at Springfield-Beckley Airport in Ohio will take place today (Thursday) during AFWERX Accelerate, with both Beta Technologies and Joby Aviation in attendance.
The week-long event has been highlighting industry, investment, interagency, and international innovators, as well as those disrupters across the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force.
Officials from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Dayton Development Coalition (DDC), JobsOhio and the City of Springfield will also be in attendance at the event, which will be streamed live from 12.30pm ET at http://www.af.mil/live
Both Joby and Beta announced their intention to establish a presence in Ohio earlier this year, as they push forward with their Agility Prime campaign with the U.S. Air Force.
Launched earlier this year, Agility Prime seeks to accelerate the commercial market for eVTOL aircraft and the two companies have already progressed to Phase III of the Initial Capabilities Opening as part of Agility Prime’s ‘Air Race to Certification’.
Tom Franzen, City of Springfield’s Assistant City Manager, said: “The Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport is proud to be part of the ecosystem of unmanned aerial systems research and testing in Ohio.
“Home to the Ohio UAS Center and SkyVision, a BVLOS range operated in partnership with ARFL and state of Ohio, Springfield-Beckley is excited to support Joby Aviation and Beta Technologies in the placement of their advanced flight simulators at the airport.
“The airport’s proximity to Wright Patterson AFB and the Dayton region’s aerospace industry allows for easy access for the company’s customers and U.S. Air Force partners.”
The simulators will allow pilots to gain experience in a controlled environment and Springfield’s airspace has been approved for testing beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities for unmanned aircraft.
The airspace also conducts pioneering work into how to integrate unmanned systems into the National Airspace System, a critical aspect of developing air taxi 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.
Jeff Hoagland, President and CEO of DDC, added: “The advanced urban air mobility simulator facility and charging stations mark the beginning of a new era for Springfield and Ohio. As we look to the skies for new ways to travel, Ohio will once again be on the leading edge of aerospace research and development.
“We hope the innovators of advanced air mobility systems will join Joby and Beta in Springfield to leverage our region’s rich ecosystem for aerospace research, testing, and manufacturing.”
Brig. Gen. Heather L. Pringle, AFRL commander, added: “Agility Prime is an exciting opportunity for the Air Force to engage with industry and learn about the difficult task of developing electric air taxis.
“It also paves the way for AFRL and the Ohio Community to advance the science and better understand an innovative capability with both military and commercial benefits.”
To register and learn more about AFWERX Accelerate, visit, www.afwerx.com.