Aerospace and Aviation

Since the Wright Brothers invented powered flight and John Glenn orbited the Earth, Ohio has been at the forefront of the space and aviation industry. The state is home to large research facilities and a diverse range of suppliers for airplanes, missiles and space systems and is now leading the way in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

Key facts

  • Nearly 550 aerospace companies, including OEMs and systems and components suppliers with competencies in propulsion, fluid management, landing systems and materials, as well as airline services and maintenance.
  • Ohio employs about 37,000 in the aviation and aerospace industry.
  • Ohio exported $4.8 billion worth of aerospace goods in 2017.
  • In 2016 (the most recent data available), the aviation and aerospace industry had a GSP of $7.3 billion (Cleveland State University).

National position

  • Second for aerospace infrastructure
  • Third for aerospace industry size
  • Sixth overall most attractive state for aerospace manufacturing (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2017)
  • Largest supplier state to Airbus and Boeing (combined spending of more than $17 billion annually in Ohio)

Major players

  • Airbus, Boeing and GE Aviation are leading aircraft and engine OEMs located in Ohio.
  • Eaton and Honeywell are among sub-assembly manufacturers with large operations here.
  • NASA Glenn Research Center runs over 500 research and test facilities in advanced materials, space communications and solar electric propulsion critical for deep space missions. It has received more R&D awards than all other NASA facilities combined.
  • Wright Patterson Air Force Base, the intellectual capital of the United States Air Force, is based here, with a focus on new technologies for military and commercial aviation.
  • Battelle and Ohio Aerospace Institute are among the many public and private research institutions that help develop and commercialize new technologies.
  • Five Ohio universities are ranked in the top 50 graduate schools in aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering: Air Force Institute of Technology, Case Western Reserve University, The Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati and University of Dayton.

Top employers

  • Wright Patterson Air Force Base - 27,600 (Ohio's largest single-site employer)
  • General Electric - 14,500
  • NASA Glenn Research Center - 3,200

Recent trends

  • Ohio's growing R&D and production capabilities in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology include the first site for flying and testing systems beyond line of sight in the National Airspace System. The UAV industry is predicted to double in size over the next decade.
  • Passenger demand is expected to double over the next 20 years, fueling an increase in commercial production of 30 percent as companies seek to replace aging airplanes and develop the next generation of lighter-weight aircraft.


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