Flying car pioneer Beta may fly from Springfield charging station soon

LIFT Aircraft unveiled their new electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport earlier this month. The “flying car” is the first to arrive in Ohio, and is supported by a recent $226,000 grant from JobsOhio’s Ohio Site Inventory Program in infrastructure investments at Springfield airport. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
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LIFT Aircraft unveiled their new electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport earlier this month. The “flying car” is the first to arrive in Ohio, and is supported by a recent $226,000 grant from JobsOhio’s Ohio Site Inventory Program in infrastructure investments at Springfield airport. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Flying car developer Beta Technologies may begin flights to and from its new Springfield electric vehicle charging station soon, according to the Air Force colonel who oversees his service’s exploration of the vehicles.

The company has a charging station at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport for electric flying vehicles, also known as “advanced air mobility vehicles” or simply “air taxis.” Ground was broken in December at the airport for what is expected to be an air mobility technology simulator.

Col. Nathan Diller, director of AFWERX. Air Force photo
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Col. Nathan Diller, director of AFWERX. Air Force photo

Air-worthiness tests on Beta’s vehicles continue and weather has been an issue, said Col Nathan Diller, director of AFWERX, the Air Force organization nurturing air taxis and other new technologies with private partners.

“I was just at Springfield yesterday evening,” Diller said Wednesday. “You’re probably aware that Beta is not the only company that’s there; they’re the ones who work from the charging station, they’re putting together a platform (and) they’ll be delivering a simulator very soon.”

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Vermont-based Beta Technologies, one of the pioneer companies in the field, is having its vehicle go through the Air Force’s “air-worthiness process” now, Diller said.

“The arrival of that Beta aircraft to our location in Springfield will be a function of that air worthiness, but by and large, they’re making fantastic progress on air worthiness, making fantastic progress on their flight testing,” he also said. “They’re looking forward to doing that soon.”

Weather has been a factor, he added.

“There seems to be a lot of snow here in Ohio, so we’ll see if it happens before the snow (melts),” he said.

There are conversations now with the Air Force Research Lab and other about “establishing airspace there,” he added.

“It’s in the civil airspace structure, so it’s something of interest to us,” he said.

Diller spoke in an online meeting Wednesday afternoon as part of the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium.

The Springfield airport recently received a $226,000 grant from JobsOhio’s Ohio Site Inventory Program for the infrastructure supporting the flying vehicle effort.

A message with questions was sent to Beta Thursday.