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.