Electric flight technology advances on display on Springfield, Dayton

Technology on display in Springfield will be part of the Dayton Air Show.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Community members will be able to view advances in electric flight technology and try a flight simulator from Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and local defense contractor Modern Technology Solutions Inc. (MTSI) at this weekend’s Dayton Air Show.

MTSI and AFWERX, the Air Force’s innovation arm, are partnered with small businesses — companies with 500 or fewer employees — including Pivotal and Pyka Inc., to experiment in unmanned flight and explore how electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) and short takeoff and landing aircraft can be used both in and outside the United States Air Force, Josh Lane, MTSI flight test engineer and operations site manager, said.

“Large industry does not have the intellectual capital on innovation, and if we think we’re in competition for example with China, where they can bring their entire industrial commercial sector to bear, we have the opportunity to partner with small businesses and large industry and take advantage of and explore Americans that innovate,” Lane said.

>> PHOTOS: New electric flying vehicles being tested at Springfield airport

MTSI and AFWERX displayed the aircrafts and massive mobile charging station at the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence at Springfield-Beckley Airport on Monday.

The Air Force is interested in learning how the aircraft and ground technology can transport materials, serve in emergency response situations and conduct intelligence and surveillance operations, Jacob Wilson, AFWERX acting Agility Prime branch chief, said.

MTSI, which has offices in Beavercreek, supports AFWERX with flight testing and program management.

Both eVTOL BlackFly aircraft, as static or ground displays, and a simulator will be at the Dayton Air Show on Saturday and Sunday at the Dayton International Airport.

Lane said MTSI leases the aircraft — including Pivotal BlackFly and Pyka aircraft— to discover the capabilities of both the flying and ground technology.

He said MTSI is looking at what kinds of missions the unmanned aircraft could be applied to not only for the Department of Defense, but also other federal, state and local entities.

MTSI also uses electric charging equipment, including a DANNAR mobile power station that can drive outside of the grid and provide power, Wilson said.

“It provides a lot of power output that doesn’t currently exist outside of grid to transformer on an installation,” Wilson said. “It provides a lot of storage power ...”

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Jeff Richards, senior logistician with AFWERX and MTSI, said they’re now looking at how the DANNAR mobile power station can be used to bring power to a deployed location. This technology has enough charge to provide around 25 flights, and it has a battery power of 500 kWh.

Lane said with advancements like this, there will be a greater opportunity to grow and maintain the next generation’s workforce and build more interest in STEM-related fields.

Wilson said MTSI also partners with NASA, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, Sinclair College and Springfield’s National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence.

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