A short drive from where Orville and Wilbur Wright perfected flight more than 100 years ago, aviation history was once again made in Ohio. On Wednesday, Springfield-Beckley Airport welcomed a new era of aviation as the advanced air mobility industry descended on Ohio for a first-of-its-kind event that brought together leaders from across the globe and featured the first public flights of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in Ohio.

“The partnerships that have been established and the innovation that is taking place here in Ohio will impact the global economy because we are changing the way people travel and goods move,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “Just as Ohio led the development of the air age in the 20th century, Ohio will lead the development of the aerospace age in the 21st century.”

The 2021 Ohio Advanced Air Mobility Showcase brought Ohio’s next-generation aviation assets together under the FlyOhio banner. Led by the Ohio Department of Transportation’s DriveOhio initiative, FlyOhio partners include industry leaders in advanced air mobility, the United States Air Force, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), JobsOhio, the Ohio Federal Research Network, the Dayton Development Coalition, the City of Springfield and corporate partners from across Ohio.

The day was punctuated by two historic flights. Kitty Hawk flew its unmanned, winged aircraft, the Heaviside 2 and Lift's flight featured its manned, wingless Hexa aircraft.

“Once again, our state is leading the way on advanced air mobility,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted, director of InnovateOhio. “Whether it’s on our roads, through our workforce, at our universities, in our manufacturing facilities, or up in the sky, Ohio has the people and the industry to bring big ideas into reality, continually advancing our administration’s mission to make our state the most innovative, entrepreneurial state in the Midwest.”   

The focus of the showcase was to bring public aviation organizations, private aviation companies, corporate partners and academic institutions together in Springfield to highlight the advanced air mobility development ecosystem the FlyOhio team has built. Supported by unique partner relationships and infrastructure investments from the public and private sectors, Ohio is leading the 21st century air race. 

FlyOhio’s work to refine low-altitude air traffic management seeks to make Ohio’s airspace among the first in the nation ready to fly beyond line of sight, ultimately bringing the use of unmanned aircraft for freight, package and personal transportation closer to reality.  

“We’re witnessing aviation history, to have built a coalition that includes the U.S. Air Force, NASA, advanced air mobility developers and manufacturers and corporate partners working with the Federal Aviation Administration, FlyOhio is building the next generation of air travel. In Ohio, we’re unlocking the skies for the aerospace age of the 21st century,” said Howard Wood, Executive Director of DriveOhio.

Aviation leaders from across the private and public sectors were on hand to connect with state, local and corporate partners to showcase their electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and to highlight the infrastructure and development technology that is housed at Springfield-Beckley airport. Event participants are as follows:

• Nathan Diller, Director of AFWERX, U.S. Air Force;

• Davis Hackenberg, Advanced Air Mobility Mission Integration Mgr., NASA;

• Matt Chasen, CEO, Lift Aircraft;

• Kyle Clark, Founder and CEO, Beta Technologies;

• Bill Goodwin, Deputy General Counsel, Policy, Joby Aviation;

• Justin Jantzen, Project Engineer, MOOG Aircraft;

• William Roper, CEO, Volansi;

• Sebastian Thrun, CEO, Kitty Hawk; and

• Manoli Tsaparkos, Vehicle Integration and Test Lead, Reliable Robotics.

“The opportunity to build a new industry that has the potential to add $13 billion in market value to Ohio’s economy and support tens of thousands of new jobs in infrastructure, construction, advanced manufacturing and business development over the next 20 years doesn’t just happen,” said J.P. Nauseef, President and CEO of JobsOhio. “It takes hard work and partnerships, as Ohio’s Lt. Governor Husted says, ‘Those who collaborate best are the ones who win.’ As you can see, in Ohio, we are developing the mobility economy of the 21st century.”