COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The same Ohio river valley where the Wright brothers pioneered human flight will soon be manufacturing cutting-edge electric planes that take off and land vertically, under an agreement announced Monday between the state and Joby Aviation Inc.
“When you’re talking about air taxis, that’s the future,” Republican Gov. Mike DeWine told The Associated Press. “We find this very, very exciting — not only for the direct jobs and indirect jobs it’s going to create, but like Intel, it’s a signal to people that Ohio is looking to the future. This is a big deal for us.”
Around the world, electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL aircraft are entering the mainstream, though questions remain about noise levels and charging demands. Still, developers say the planes are nearing the day when they will provide a wide-scale alternative to shuttle individual people or small groups from rooftops and parking garages to their destinations, while avoiding the congested thoroughfares below.
Joby’s decision to locate its first scaled manufacturing facility at a 140-acre (57-hectar) site at Dayton International Airport delivers on two decades of groundwork laid by the state’s leaders, Republican Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said. Importantly, the site is near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the headquarters of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratories.