Ohio Pushes Aerospace and Aviation Forward with Breakthroughs in Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Ohio offers unparalleled access to talent, resources and partnerships for expanding aerospace businesses
Glenn Richardson, managing director of advanced manufacturing and aerospace and aviation
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In late April, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Maj. Gen. William Cooley, commander for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, announced that the Ohio UAS Center and AFRL would leverage groundbreaking aviation technology – called SkyVision – at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport.

SkyVision is a ground-based, detect-and-avoid system for safe operations of advanced aircraft technologies. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted the AFRL a certificate of authorization to fly and test unmanned aircraft and other advanced aerospace technologies at beyond visual line of sight within a 200-square-mile airspace around the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport.

SkyVision and this FAA certification is the first step in the right direction for advanced aerospace technology development in Ohio. The state has committed to a multistage approach to build the necessary infrastructure and technology to eventually support package and people movement.

For Ohio, which has been on the forefront of aviation and aerospace research since the Wright brothers got their start here more than a century ago, this development pushes the state to the leading edge of the advancement and development of UAS technology. More importantly, it gives companies interested in testing and expanding their UAS research new opportunities to grow here in Ohio.

One of those early movers is VyrtX, which has committed to expand its operations in Springfield and is partnering with the Ohio UAS Center to utilize SkyVision in the development of drone technology to transport organs between hospitals for transplant surgeries. Because of this innovative approach to medical logistics, VyrtX hopes to minimize transportation time for organs, enabling a healthier future for the recipient.

While a major announcement, VyrtX’s drone testing and SkyVision are just a sliver of what Ohio has in aerospace and aviation technology, manufacturing, R&D and talent.

Ohio organizations invest $12 billion annually in R&D, and industry-leading aerospace research centers and testing facilities are located across the state. NASA Glenn Research Center, for example, operates 500 specialized facilities in Ohio. And as the leading supplier state to Airbus and Boeing, Ohio is home to more than 540 aerospace and aviation companies.

With an estimated 38,000 aerospace and aviation professionals working in Ohio already, more than 80 universities churn out 13,000 engineers and engineering technicians each year, and the state claims the third-largest manufacturing workforce in the nation.

With unparalleled access to talent, manufacturing, suppliers and buyers, anyone in the aerospace and aviation industry, including UAS companies, have a true foundation from which to grow here in Ohio.

If you’d like to learn more about opportunities for growing your company in the aerospace and aviation industry in Ohio, get in touch with JobsOhio.