Here at Yeager Airport, we move fast and efficiently; we also pride ourselves on staying ahead and being forward thinkers who don’t have a box to think outside of.
Our latest project is electrifying CRW with electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, better known as eVTOL. WATCH HERE or read below for more.
“This is an opportunity for Kanawha County and West Virginia to be at the forefront of emerging technology. A lot of this stuff hasn’t been done before. We can be at the forefront of this technology while trying to achieve our vision of being the most significant economic engine of the state of West Virginia by bringing high-paying, high-tech jobs,” said Airport Director Nick Keller.
At the end of October, The Central West Virginia Regional Airport Authority Board voted to move forward with a consulting group, Thrasher. This agreement means that a team of consultants will prepare CRW and West Virginia for an eVTOL infrastructure.
“The groundwork phase has kicked off. We are doing cost estimating right now to see the financial obligation for that battery research center. We are in talks with the engineering school at Marshall with their thoughts on what this will look like, how it will function, and what sort of equipment we will need….so we can be more attractive to different funding sources,” said Thrasher Marketing Director, Heidi Handley.
For the last six weeks, Director Keller, and Thrasher Group, Marshall University, and the Robert C. Byrd Institute have been working on several eVTOL opportunities.
“That would include electrifying our airport, putting charging stations in, and looking around the state to put these landing pads for aircraft. The potential to have an aerospace manufacturing facility in the Kanawha valley and region would make these aircraft batteries. Thrasher is under contract to help us review this and help us with federal grant applications, land acquisition, and site development. The whole host of everything that relates to eVTOL” said Keller.
eVTOL aircraft are battery operated and will be a significant milestone for CRW’s zero-emission aviation industry. Board members like Ed Hill and Jim Dodtrill all approve of Director Keller’s vision of electrifying CRW.
“We see an economic opportunity that will significantly benefit this area and the state,” said Hill.
“For the state and the region because we are on the front edge of it. For example, if we do the battery research center in cooperation with Marshall, it will be the first in the world. It’s kind of like if you built it, they would come. It will be like a magnet; it will attract the eVTOL companies to West Virginia,” said Dodrill.
CRW is working hard to lock in grant funding, and depending on that, we could see work on the infrastructure being done as soon as the following year.
YEAGER AIRPORT TAKES BIG STEP IN ELECTRIFYING CRW WITH SEVERAL EVTOL OPPORTUNITIES
On Wednesday, the Central West Virginia Regional Airport Authority 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 CRW and West Virginia for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) infrastructure.
CRW is working on multiple funding opportunities for the build-out of electric infrastructure at multiple West Virginia locations to operate eVTOL aircraft.
The contract 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 several eVTOL opportunities, including:
- Establishing Air Taxi Intrastate Air Service and an eVTOL Center of Excellence
- The overall vision is for CRW to become a hub for future air taxi services with airline connections. The airport will serve as a center of excellence for eVTOL training and operations.
- Battery Research Center
- CRW will work with Marshall University, private companies, and others to explore opening the world’s first aerospace battery research center.
- Manufacturing Facility
- Thrasher will work with CRW to identify potential sites and conduct design work for aerospace components manufacturing facilities.
- Vertiports & electrification infrastructure
- Thrasher and sub-consultants will design eVTOL electric infrastructure, charging stations, landing pad facilities, vertiports, heliports, flight simulators, and associated support infrastructure at multiple locations
- CRW Airport Electrification Project
- This will include the design and construction of electrical infrastructure, landing pad, and aircraft charging stations.
- Design and construction of the aerospace economic development center, which would consist of a 10,000 square foot hangar for electric and other aircraft, terminal building for general aviation users, an innovation center, and aerospace business incubator and accelerator that will serve as a hub for the state.
Airport Director Nick Keller says the agreement is a significant milestone for CRW’s zero-emissions aviation industry. “This work and our partnership with the Thrasher Group will ensure the State of West Virginia is at the forefront of the emerging eVTOL industry, attracting good paying high tech aerospace jobs to the Mountain State”
Thrasher’s Director of Marketing, Heidi Handley, says this will be a transformational project. “As a West Virginia-based firm, it is exciting to be a part of an innovative project with such big implications for our state. The introduction of eVTOL truly can reshape the aerospace industry and greatly impact the economy throughout West Virginia. This will bring new, well-paying jobs – not only in the aviation space but through the construction and manufacturing industries that support eVTOL.”
Both parties will work closely to explore opportunities for how this type of technology can fit into existing and future operations at CRW with the plan of maximizing job opportunities and simplifying travel throughout the state.
About Yeager Airport (CRW): A study done by the West Virginia Aeronautics Commission says Yeager Airport is responsible for nearly 3,000 jobs and has a $225-million economic impact in the state. Yeager Airport is the largest commercial Airport in West Virginia, with service provided by American, Delta, Spirit, and United Airlines. The Airport’s Organizational Vision is: “To become the most important economic engine for the state through advances in aviation and education.” Yeager Airport, in conjunction with the West Virginia National Guard, hosts the Home Base Program. The program works to facilitate military ground, tactical, and air training in West Virginia.
For more information, please contact:
Rachel Urbanski, Public Affairs Specialist