(Photo courtesy of Eric Adams | Joby Aviation via AP)

Ohio to build air taxis in the hometown of the Wright Brothers

Under an agreement between the state government and Joby Aviation Inc, Dayton, Ohio will become the site of a new air taxi manufacturing facility.

The town was once the home and workplace of the Wright Brothers, and saw the construction of the first U.S. airplane factory in 1910. Joby’s formal announcement on Monday was held at Orville Wright’s home, Hawthorn Hill, punctuated by a flyby of a replica Wright Model B Flyer.

The California-based airmaker stated it would invest up to $500 million (with $325 million coming from state incentives) in the new facility, on a 140-acre site at Dayton International Airport. The company hopes to begin commercial passenger use of its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft by 2025.

While Ohio’s financial incentive wasn’t the largest, Joby CEO JoeBen Bevirt told the Associated Press that the prestige of starting production in the home of aviation – and the resident workforce experienced in aviation manufacturing – “sealed the deal.”

Something of an outlier in the growing eVTOL industry, Joby does not sell directly to airlines, instead using the model of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft, with customers requesting a ride on an air taxi built, owned and operated by the company. Partnered with companies such as Toyota, Delta Air Lines, Intel and Uber, it launched its first production-ready eVTOL craft this June.

While Joby received a “Special Airworthiness Certificate” enabling it to fly its eVTOL craft in U.S. airspace for testing purposes, it has yet to be certified for commercial passenger use by the Federal Aviation Administration.


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