CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Officials at Yeager Airport are eager to take steps in leading the aerospace industry’s electric infrastructure.
On Wednesday, the airport’s board approved entering into a contract with The Thrasher Group. Airport Design Consultants Inc. and Marshall University Center for Business and Economic Research will be sub-consultants. The agreement means a team of consultants will be fully engaged to prepare the airport (CRW) and West Virginia for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) infrastructure, a release said.
Yeager Airport is working on multiple funding opportunities for the build-out of electric infrastructure at multiple West Virginia locations to operate eVTOL aircraft.
“These are battery-powered aircraft that don’t have engines but battery-powered motors. They take off and land vertically like helicopters but fly like an airplane. it’s the forefront of new and emerging technology that has zero emissions,” Yeager Airport Director Nick Keller said.
The contract signed Wednesday will build on work conducted over the last six weeks where Thrasher and CRW, along with Marshall University, and the Robert C. Byrd Institute, have been working on, including: establishing air Taxi intrastate air service and an eVTOL Center of Excellence, creating the first aerospace battery research center, identifying potential sites and conduct design work for aerospace components manufacturing facilities, and designing electric infrastructure including charging stations, landing pad facilities, vertiports, heliports, and flight simulators.
Another opportunity includes an Airport Electrification Project that includes the design and construction of electrical infrastructure, landing pad, and aircraft charging stations. It also includes the design and construction of the aerospace economic development center, which would consist of a 10,000 square foot hangar for electric and other aircraft, a terminal building for general aviation users, an innovation center, and aerospace business incubator and accelerator that will serve as a hub for the state.
“The airport wants to be a center of excellence, we want to be the hub for this emerging industry. We want to bring it to West Virginia,” Keller said.
“What we need to do is make the infrastructure happen, we need to have the proper electric charging stations at multiple locations throughout the state of West Virginia.”
Keller said his team was recently at a national airport conference and it led them to believe they have been ahead of the curve in this industry.
“A lot of airports have never heard of this technology, they are not sure how to respond. At the same time, we already have consultants working on it, we’re already having meetings with these companies to plan for the future and how we can attract them here,” he said.