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The Miami Valley may be on the cusp of a flying car manufacturing boom

A small plane-like vehicle behind red velvet ropes
Ann Thompson
/
WVXU
A handful of people already own this Opener Aero personal air vehicle called the BlackFly, but they have to fly it in uncongested areas. When the California company ramps up production it may consider making the vehicles in suburban Dayton.

At least five eVTOL companies are testing at the Springfield Beckley Municipal Airport.

Joby Aviation’s announcement that beginning in 2025 it will build as many as 500 electric air taxis a year may be just the beginning for flying car manufacturing in Southwest Ohio.

The business is taking off, according to the Dayton Development Coalition’s Executive Vice President, Aerospace and Defense Elaine Bryant. “We’re bringing flight to the masses. So, think about your car in your garage and the automakers had to build 500, 1,000, whatever it is, to keep up with the demand. So, that’s what we’re gearing up to.”

At least five eVTOL (electric vehicle take-off and landing) companies are testing at the Springfield Beckley Municipal Airport. They include Joby, Lift, Beta, Opener Aero and Moog.

Opener’s CEO Ken Karklin showed off his company’s personal air vehicle at the National Advanced Air Mobility Industry Forum. It is at The National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence, which had its grand opening Monday at the Springfield Airport.

The Opener vehicle, the BlackFly, has a range of 20 miles, is tandem wing and can seat just one person-the pilot/operator. Karklin has already sold a few of them but operators are restricted to uncongested air space. Next month Opener says it will release pricing and availability. The California company is working with government agencies and their contractors in Southwest Ohio and may consider manufacturing on a larger scale here.

Pivotal | BlackFly @EAA AirVenture 2022

“And where this goes longer term, remains to be seen,” he says. “But what I can say is this is a fantastic location, and a fantastic facility for ongoing development of eVTOL technology and going to be something we take a serious look at.”

Beta is doing testing in Springfield and has a simulator. Right now it's manufacturing the ALIA in Vermont.
Ann Thompson
/
WVXU
Beta is doing testing in Springfield and has a simulator. Right now it's manufacturing the ALIA in Vermont.

BETA makes the ALIA in Vermont, but when it goes into larger production the company says it may consider the Miami Valley.

Moog is based in Cincinnati and continues to test the SureFly in Springfield and at Lunken Airport.

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Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.