Flying Taxis to Be Built in Wright Brothers' Hometown

Joby Aviation strikes a deal to put manufacturing facility for electric aircraft in Dayton
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 18, 2023 1:00 PM CDT
Flying Taxis to Be Built in Wright Brothers' Hometown
Joby’s prototype aircraft at the company’s flight test facility in Marina, Calif.   (Eric Adams/Joby Aviation via AP)

The same Ohio river valley where the Wright brothers pioneered human flight will soon be manufacturing electric planes that take off and land vertically, under an agreement announced Monday between the state and Joby Aviation Inc. Around the world, electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL, aircraft are entering the mainstream, though questions remain about noise levels and charging demands, per the AP. Still, developers say the planes are nearing the day when they will provide a wide-scale alternative to shuttle individual people or small groups from rooftops and parking garages to their destinations, while avoiding the congested thoroughfares below.

Joby will locate its first scaled manufacturing facility at a 140-acre site at Dayton International Airport. Importantly, the site is near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the headquarters of the US Air Force Research Laboratories. The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, lived and worked in Dayton. In 1910, they opened the first US airplane factory there. To connect the historical dots, Joby's formal announcement Monday took place at Orville Wright's home, Hawthorn Hill, and concluded with a ceremonial fly-past of a replica of the Wright Model B Flyer.

Joby's aircraft is designed to transport a pilot and four passengers at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour, with a maximum range of 100 miles. The plan is to place them in aerial ridesharing networks beginning in 2025. The efforts of the California-based company are supported by partnerships with Toyota, Delta Air Lines, Intel, and Uber. The $500 million project is supported by up to $325 million in incentives from the state of Ohio and local government. Joby is a 14-year-old company that went public in 2021 and became the first eVTOL firm to receive US Air Force airworthiness certification. It plans to make 500 aircraft a year, creating 2,000 jobs. The Department of Energy has invited Joby to apply for a loan to support development of the facility as a clean energy project.

(More Dayton, Ohio stories.)

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