Local, state, and federal officials celebrated the groundbreaking of the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence (NAAMCE) at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport near Dayton, Ohio.
The NAAMCE will feature a two-story, 30,000ft2 office building to house administrative, laboratory, meeting, and collaboration space, with 25,000ft2 of aircraft hangar space available for use by the U.S. Air Force and private industry. The center will support the expanding work of manufacturers and operators of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for advanced air mobility (AAM).
Vermont-based Beta Technologies, California-based Joby Aviation, and Texas firm LIFT Aircraft already use the airport to support eVTOL development. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) partnered with the State of Ohio to develop SkyVision, a system to establish and operate a ground-based detect and avoid (GBDAA) system at the site. In 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration granted AFRL authority for beyond-visual-line-of-sight flight of UAS at the airport.
The City of Springfield, Dayton Development Coalition (DDC), JobsOhio, and the State of Ohio have worked closely with the AFRL and its AFWERX Agility Prime program to accelerate commercial eVTOL technology development that supports the Air Force’s need for resilient distributed logistics and sustainable mobility. The new facility is within 30 minutes’ drive of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the AFRL. Opening of the NAAMCE is planned for September 2023.
The Department of Defense approved a $6 million Defense Community Infrastructure Program grant to support the project in 2021. With additional state and local government funding, total investment in the site will surpass $10 million.
The State of Ohio and Dayton regional governments seek to leverage the center of excellence and existing aerospace assets to attract AAM manufacturing to the area. State officials estimate the AAM economic impact in Ohio to reach $13 billion through 2045, generating 15,000 related jobs if the state continues to invest in AAM activities.
The groundbreaking took place on the second day of the National Advanced Air Mobility Industry Forum, a showcase for Ohio’s collaborative aviation ecosystem and supply chain. Exhibitors included representatives of the region’s resources for research and development, aerospace manufacturing, colleges and universities, and workforce development. Panel discussions featured industry representatives from Joby Aviation, LIFT Aircraft, Lilium, Beta Technologies, and Workhorse Group, plus government officials from the FAA, NASA, and U.S. Air Force. Discussion topics included eVTOL progress to-date, AAM aircraft certification and integration into the national air space, healthcare use cases, and federal agency partnerships.