Springfield will be part of NASA’s ‘advanced air mobility’ research

Work may shed light on flying cars, drones, piloted and autonomous

NASA has chosen a Springfield-based flight research center to help shape the future of passenger travel and cargo delivery, only the strengthening the site’s continue role in such research.

FlyOhio, based at the Ohio/Indiana UAS Center and Test Complex in Springfield, received the award, meant to push to reality “multiple use cases for personal travel and delivery of goods across the state of Ohio,” the FlyOhio organization said in a release.

The NASA program is meant to further an “advance air mobility strategy” focused on the movement of people and goods. Such a strategy may use both drones and flying vehicles sometimes called “flying cars.”

Luke Stedke, a FlyOhio spokesman, said the award means the research of flying cars and drones, autonomous, piloted and remote, in Springfield and other locations across Ohio. FlyOhio has locations in Springfield and Columbus.

“Ultimately we talking about an industry that could be worth $17 billion by 2040,” Stedke said.

“In Ohio, we have a longstanding history with advancing aerospace technology, and we continue to pursue new opportunities to support the development of cutting-edge technology,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. “We are eager to join with NASA in a new, broad coalition of institutions across the state who are investing in the advancement of this transformative aerospace technology.”

The Springfield center, at the Beckley Municipal Airport, is already home to research of drone flight beyond a drone pilot’s visual line of sight, and the Springfield Air National Guard Base that has a mission remotely flying Predator drones around the world.

Further, ground was broken at the airport last year for an electric charging station for Vermont-based BETA Technologies, one of the pioneer companies in the fledgling field of flying cars, also called eVTOLs for electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles. The Air Force is seriously exploring such vehicles.

The charge station can be adapted to accommodate electric ground vehicles, as well, Air Force officials have said.

“Specifically, the winning proposal outlines test applications in health care delivery, air taxi or air metro, and regional air cargo transport,” the FlyOhio release said.

“Advanced Air Mobility technology is revolutionizing the transportation industry and Ohio is well positioned to lead market adoption as these solutions scale,” said Howard Wood, executive director at DriveOhio.

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