June 19, 2024

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The same Ohio River valley where the Wright brothers pioneered human flight will soon be building cutting-edge electric planes that can take off vertically, under an agreement announced Monday between the state and Joby Aviation Inc. Will take off and land.

“When you’re talking about air taxis, this is the future,” Republican Governor Mike DeWine told The Associated Press. “We find it very, very exciting – not only for the direct jobs and indirect jobs that it’s going to create, but like Intel, it’s a signal to people that Ohio is looking toward the future. This is a big thing for us.”

Around the world, electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL aircraft are entering the mainstream, although questions remain about noise levels and charging demands. Still, developers say the planes are close to the day when they will provide a wide-scale option for ferrying individual people or small groups to their destinations from rooftops and parking garages, while avoiding the congested routes below.

Republican Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said Joby’s decision to establish its first scaled manufacturing facility at a 140-acre (57 ha) site at Dayton International Airport completes two decades of groundwork laid by state leaders. Importantly, the site is near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the headquarters of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratories.

“For over a hundred years, the Dayton area has been a leader in aviation innovation,” Husted said. “But owning a large-scale aircraft manufacturer has always been a drain on the local economy there. With this announcement, that aspiration has come true.”

The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, lived and worked in Dayton. In 1910, he opened the first American airplane factory there. To connect the historical dots, Joby’s formal announcement will take place Monday at Orville Wright’s home, Hawthorne Hill, and will conclude with a ceremonial flypast of a replica of Wright’s Model B Flyer.

Joby’s production aircraft is designed to carry a pilot and four passengers at a top speed of 200 miles (321.87 kilometers) per hour, with a maximum range of 100 miles (160.93 kilometers). The company said its quiet noise is barely audible against the background of most cities. The plan is to have them in aerial ridesharing networks starting in 2025.

The Santa Cruz, California-based company’s efforts are supported by partnerships with Toyota, Delta Airlines, Intel and Uber. Joby is a 14-year-old company that went public in 2021 and became the first eVTOL firm to receive US Air Force airworthiness certification.

With up to $325 million in incentives from the state of Ohio, its JobsOhio Economic Development Office and local government, as well as $500 million of Joby’s own cash, the company plans to build an Ohio facility that will deliver 500 aircraft per year and produce 2,000 aircraft. Is capable of making. Jobs. The US Department of Energy has invited Joby to apply for a loan to assist in the development of the facility as a clean energy project.

Joby CEO Joben Bevirt told the AP the company chose Ohio after an extensive and competitive search. Its financial package wasn’t the biggest, he said, but the opportunity to bring the operation to the birthplace of aviation with an experienced workforce in the region sealed the deal.

“Ohio is the No. 1 state when it comes to supplying parts for Boeing and Airbus,” Bevirt said. Ohio is No. 3 in the nation in manufacturing jobs – and that depth of manufacturing skills, that workforce is important to us. As we want to build this manufacturing facility.

JobsOhio President and CEO JP Nauseef said its dedication to aviation has helped the Dayton region overcome serious economic challenges. This included the loss of thousands of auto and auto parts manufacturing jobs in the early 2000s and the loss of ATM maker NCR Corp.’s headquarters in an Atlanta suburb in 2009.

“It matches our heritage and heritage of innovation in aviation with the nuts and bolts of our manufacturing,” Nausif said. Dayton and Springfield, (whose people) are very proud, (and) have had tough, tough decades, this is a wonderful project.

Bevirt said that subject to clearing the standard legal and regulatory hurdles, operations and recruitment will begin immediately from existing buildings near the development site. The site is large enough to eventually accommodate 2 million square feet (610,000 m²) of manufacturing space.

Construction on the manufacturing facility is expected to begin in 2024, with production beginning in 2025.

Toyota, a long-term investor, worked with Joby to design and successfully launch its pilot production line in Marina, California in 2019. The company said the automaker will continue to advise Joby as it prepares for mass production of its commercial passenger air taxi.

The announcement comes as a bipartisan group of Ohio’s congressional representatives recently stepped up efforts — following DeWine’s earlier appeal — to bring the U.S. Air Force’s new U.S. Space Command headquarters, or Space Force units, to Ohio. . There, too, state leaders cite the Wrights’ aerospace legacy, as well as that of Ohio-born astronauts John Glenn and Neil Armstrong.

Julie Carr Smith, The Associated Press


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *