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Springfield now has land ready for flying car and drone manufacturing

Ann Thompson
BETA Technologies is an electric aerospace company developing an eVTOL. It's based in Vermont but this is its testing facility at the Springfield-Beckley Airport.

AirPark Ohio is next to the Springfield-Beckley Airport and verified by the state to have adequate utilities.

Springfield — quickly becoming a hub for flying car and drone testing — is adding another piece to its potentially lucrative portfolio: a development site.

AirPark Ohio is an industrial park adjacent to the Springfield-Beckley Airport. The state hopes eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles) and UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) companies use the site to build their vehicles.

"Manufacturing of the eVTOLs would be a perfect fit for it," said Assistant City Manager and Director of Development Tom Franzen. "The proximity to the airfield and ability to access the taxiways makes it ideal for that. So, production of any of those types of eVTOLs or remotely piloted aircraft would be a good fit."

The 100-acre site has been authenticated by JobsOhio, meaning it is verified to have adequate utilities, water, sewer, gas and fiber. Eventually Franzen says AirPark Ohio will open a few hundred more acres to development.

"We’ve been working on this as a state, really for the last decade in partnership with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and others to develop the capacity to do the research, development, testing,” Franzen says. “At the same time, the State of Ohio through the Ohio UAS Center Fly Ohio and other efforts have been laying the groundwork from a planning perspective of how this will all fit together."

The new development site comes on the heels of the groundbreaking for the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence at the airport, as WVXU reported. It’s scheduled to be finished by the fall of 2023. Franzen says the center will allow Springfield and the state to pursue flying car and drone testing and development much more aggressively in conjunction with the AFRL.

AirPark Ohio.PNG
One Hundred acres is initially available for development on the site next to the airport.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.