Groundbreaking details set for Agility Prime project at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport
Event to be part of AFWERX Accelerate – launching a universe of opportunity to accelerate change
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Officials from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Dayton Development Coalition, JobsOhio, City of Springfield, BETA Technologies, and Joby Aviation will participate at a groundbreaking event for a new advanced urban air mobility technology simulator facility at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport Dec. 10 at 12:30 p.m.
Brig. Gen. Heather L. Pringle, AFRL commander, will participate in a ground breaking ceremony for BETA Technologies and Joby Aviation’s new facility, welcoming the advanced urban air mobility simulator facility to Springfield. Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted and JobsOhio President JP Nauseef will also be in attendance.
The Air Force recently launched Agility Prime, a non-traditional program seeking to accelerate the commercial market for advanced air mobility aircraft and create a robust domestic industry and supply chain to support their development and production. The move comes as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper announced AFWERX was moved under the umbrella of AFRL to better facilitate collaboration with industry partners.
Both companies are leaders in advanced air mobility vehicles, commonly known as air taxis. The technology is anticipated to revolutionize transportation and spur the growth of a new industry. The simulators allow pilots to gain experience in a controlled environment.
The simulators will allow pilots to gain experience in a controlled environment. Springfield’s airspace has been approved for testing beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities for unmanned aircraft.
While Springfield’s airspace for testing of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities supports unmanned aircraft, it also conducts pioneering work into how to integrate unmanned systems into National Airspace System, a critical aspect of developing air taxi technology.
“The Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport is proud to be part of the ecosystem of unmanned aerial systems research and testing in Ohio,” said City of Springfield’s Assistant City Manager Tom Franzen. “Home to the Ohio UAS Center and SkyVision, a BVLOS range operated in partnership with ARFL and state of Ohio, Springfield-Beckley is excited to support Joby Aviation and BETA Technologies in the placement of their advanced flight simulators at the airport. The airport’s proximity to Wright Patterson AFB and the Dayton region’s aerospace industry allows for easy access for the company’s customers and U.S. Air Force partners.”
“Agility Prime is an exciting opportunity for the Air Force to engage with industry and learn about the difficult task of developing electric air taxis,” said Pringle. “It also paves the way for AFRL and the Ohio Community to advance the science and better understand an innovative capability with both military and commercial benefits.”
Ohio’s work in developing research capabilities for unmanned aerial systems makes it an ideal place for Agility Prime contractors to establish operations. Advanced technology to support testing, research and manufacturing, a strong network of collaborative partners, and proximity to leading institutions and talented workforce combine to create a strong ecosystem to support air taxis.
“The advanced urban air mobility simulator facility and charging stations mark the beginning of a new era for Springfield and Ohio,” said Jeff Hoagland, DDC President and CEO. “As we look to the skies for new ways to travel, Ohio will once again be on the leading edge of aerospace research and development. We hope the innovators of advanced air mobility systems will join Joby and BETA in Springfield to leverage our region’s rich ecosystem for aerospace research, testing, and manufacturing.”
Agility Prime is a $35 million program that seeks to develop and accelerate the commercial market for advanced air mobility aircraft and create a domestic industry and supply chain to support their development and production.
The groundbreaking event in Springfield is being held during the inaugural AFWERX Accelerate event happening virtually Dec. 7-11. To register and learn more about Accelerate, visit, www.afwerx.com.
For the live feed of the event activities, visit http://www.af.mil/live beginning on Monday at 12 p.m. Eastern.
Established in 2017, AFWERX is a product of the U.S. Air Force, directly envisioned by former Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. Her vision of AFWERX — to solve some of the toughest challenges that the Air Force faces through innovation and collaboration amongst our nation’s top subject matter experts. AFWERX serves as a catalyst to unleash new approaches for the warfighter through a growing ecosystem of innovators. AFWERX and the U.S. Air Force are committed to exploring viable solutions and partnerships to further strengthen the Air Force, which could lead to additional prototyping, R&D, and follow-on production contracts.
Fast Company named AFWERX Best Workplaces for Innovators on the 2020 List, honoring the top 100 businesses and organizations that demonstrate a deep commitment to encouraging innovation at all levels. AFWERX, U.S. Air Force’s innovation arm and catalyst for fostering innovation within the Air Force, came in at #16 ranking in the top 20 alongside brands such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon.