Hundreds of ‘air taxies’ to be manufactured in Ohio: governor

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(The Hill) — A new manufacturing plant to build electric planes that can take off and land vertically will be built in Dayton, Ohio — the birthplace of aviation.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Joby Aviation announced the agreement Monday, which promises to deliver up to 500 aircraft per year at the Dayton International Airport and support up to 2,000 jobs. The 140-acre site for the manufacturing facility will be located at a site near the airport, which is also near the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the headquarters of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratories.

“When you’re talking about air taxis, that’s the future,” 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.”

Electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL aircraft, are beginning to become more common around the world. Developers of eVTOL aircraft say that one day they will be able to shuttle individuals or small groups of people from rooftops and parking garages to their locations to avoid traffic below.

“For a hundred years, the Dayton area has been a leader in aviation innovation,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said. “But capturing a large-scale manufacturer of aircraft has always eluded the local economy there. With this announcement, that aspiration has been realized.”

The Wright brothers lived and worked in Dayton, where they opened the first U.S. airplane factory in 1910. The official announcement will come later on Monday and will be held at Orville Wright’s home.

Joby Aviation said in its press release that it will begin construction in 2024 and plans to be online by 2025. The company said its aircraft are designed to transport one pilot and four passengers at speeds up to 200 mph with a maximum range of 100 miles.

The company maintains that the noise of the aircraft will be minimal in cities. It also said it is working on partnerships with Delta Air Lines and Uber in its plans to operate these aircraft “as part of aerial ridesharing networks in cities and communities around the world” starting in 2025.

“We’re building the future of aviation right where it all started, in Dayton, Ohio,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby. “The Wright Brothers harnessed revolutionary technology of their time to open up the skies, and we intend to do the same — this time, bringing quiet and emissions-free flight that we hope will have an equally profound impact on our world.”

The Associated Press contributed.

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