Editorial: eVTOL in Ohio


A recent editorial by the Toledo Blade:

The third revolution in aviation is upon us, and as the birthplace of flight, Ohio intends to be a major player in the field of advanced air mobility, or AAM.

The evolution to jet travel could be eclipsed by eVTOLs.

An eVTOL is basically a flying car. The acronym stands for electric vertical takeoff and landing. An aircraft that starts and ends flight like a helicopter, but once airborne flies like a jet, is soon to be a reality.

The National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence is a $10 million partnership between the Pentagon and the state of Ohio. The 30,000-square-foot Research and Development facility broke ground last week at the Springfield airport.

Proximity to the Research Lab at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the Agility Prime program, with millions to purchase eVTOLs, is drawing the major players in this budding industry to Ohio.

“When we get them here for R&D we intend to keep them here for manufacturing once they achieve Federal Aviation Administration approval,” is how JobsOhio officials describe the development opportunity.

The goal for Ohio economic impact is $13 billion and 15,000 jobs, as eVTOLs grow to mature technology.

A White House summit on advanced air mobility held just three weeks ago indicated FAA approved eVTOLs are expected in 2024. The White House event also indicated the eventual national benefit is connecting underserved communities with adequate air service.

It won’t happen overnight, but eventually eVTOL may come to mean improved Toledo air service. That depends on a dedicated airport authority that could use the new technology to complement standard passenger air service.

In the meantime, regional economic development leaders have been holding roundtables with Toledo aviation stake holders to create a customized plan for the transition to AAM. State agencies have been spearheading the planning through these meetings in every corner of the state.

A new partnership between Rolls Royce and Hyundai to collaborate on advancement of hydrogen fuel cells for eVTOLs is a good example of how quickly the market is developing. Hydrogen is the key to longer distance and multiple passenger service. There are currently around 2,200 daily commercial flights in the United States, but when eVTOLs achieve passenger capability the government estimates that number will grow to 22,000 daily commercial flights.

It’s just a matter of time until national air service problems could be solved by advanced air mobility. Hopefully Ohio will succeed in the mission to grow the new industry here.

— Toledo Blade, August 28, 2022