Construction expected to start by spring on Springfield airport ‘advanced air mobility’ research facility

Springfield is awarded a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to build a facility to house the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. STAFF FILE
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Springfield is awarded a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to build a facility to house the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. STAFF FILE

The airport has been awarded a $6 million grant for the project.

Springfield has been awarded $6 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to build a two-story facility and hangar at the local municipal airport.

The project includes the construction of a 30,000 square-foot building at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport to be used for office space. A hangar will also be built as a result of the project and it will be adjacent to the new facility. It is expected to be used by both the Air Force and private industry.

The facility will house the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence and the goal is to start construction in the spring of 2022, with the project being completed the following year, said Tom Franzen, the director of economic development for Springfield.

“Having the opportunity to be in the forefront of these efforts will position the region to attract additional investments and jobs of the future,” Franzen said.

The project is expected to cost $8 million to $8.5 million. The remaining $2 million to $2.5 million in costs will be covered by the City of Springfield and JobsOhio.

“This project provides a new research facility for government, academia and industry to continue advancing our national security efforts,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton. “Wright-Patt and the Springfield-Beckley airport will join together for groundbreaking innovation and research to strengthen our overall war-fighting capabilities in air, space and cyberspace forces.”

The announcement of that award was made Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said in a news release that he sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urging him to consider awarding the City of Springfield’s application to bring the National Advanced Air Mobility Center to Ohio.

“In partnership with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, the City of Springfield is uniquely prepared to house the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence,” Brown said. “The Miami Valley has some of the most innovative technology and manufacturing talent in the country. We have the workers, we have Wright-Patt and (Air Force Research Laboratory), we have the passion, and with this investment, we will be able to keep up with our competitors around the world.”

The idea is to provide space at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport that will support manufacturers and operators of electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (eVTOL), also known as a flying car. It is a type of aircraft that uses electric power to hover, take off, and land vertically.

The space will also serve other vehicles used for advanced air mobility, according to a news release from the Dayton Development Coalition.

The Air Force launched a $35 million program this year called Agility Prime, seeking to create and speed a commercial market for advanced air mobility aircraft, this news organization previously reported.

At the same time the Air Force is seeking to create a supply chain to support production of that type of aircraft, sometimes called “air taxis.”

The airport in Springfield was awarded a $226,000 grant earlier this year from JobsOhio’s Ohio Site Inventory Program (OSIP) for infrastructure work to support charging stations and flight simulators for “flying car” technology.

Companies that are part of the Agility Prime are already working at the Springfield airport and it has been home to other aerospace technology firms researching expanded drone flight and flying vehicles.

Representatives of the Dayton Development Coalition said in a news release that their organization as well as the city of Springfield and JobsOhio have worked closely with the Air Force Research Laboratory to support the growing advanced air mobility industry in the region and its Agility Prime efforts.

The new facility will be able to provide additional space to companies already working at the airport as well as those coming in the future as part of Agility Prime, Franzen said.


By the numbers

$6 million - Amount awarded to the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence project by the Department of Defense

30,000 - Size in square feet of building to be constructed at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport

15,000- Size in square feet of hangar to be built as a result of the project

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