Beavercreek defense firm MTSI to bring flying taxi to Dayton Air Show

As the Air Force Research Laboratory and local defense contractor Modern Technology Solutions Inc. (MTSI) gear up to test a new flying taxi, CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show visitors should soon see them.

MTSI and AFWERX, the Air Force’s innovation arm, recently selected a flying craft made by Pivotal, a producer of single-seat electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles.

Under the agreement, announced earlier this year, Pivotal was to deliver several BlackFly pre-production eVTOLs and two flight simulators for lease to MTSI, which were to be used in AFWERX and Air Force evaluations.

MTSI, which has offices in Beavercreek, supports AFWERX with flight testing and program management.

MTSI will have both eVTOL BlackFly aircraft as static or ground displays and a simulator at the Dayton Air Show June 22 and 23 at the Dayton International Airport, company principals said in a recent interview with this newspaper.

“There’s going to be a lot that the public will see,” said Scott Jokerst, Dayton site lead for MTSI, which has some 425 Dayton-area employees.

Nathan Jones, a flight test engineer who works for both MTSI and AFWERX, said the company hopes to have six of the aircraft at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport for evaluation at some point.

These would be some of the first electric aircraft that could be employed for “attritable” or relatively inexpensive uses in combat or other environments, Jones said.

“It could be used as an aerial motorcycle, if you will,” he said in an interview.

Pivotal, MTSI, and AFWERX intend to test the craft at an airport north of San Antonio, Texas as well as the Air Force Research Laboratory’s National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport.

The goal will be to see if the design is a good fit for Air Force missions.

“Over the next eight months, we will fly eight BlackFly eVTOL aircraft in different environments to test their mission effectiveness and suitability in military uses,” Vance Drenkhahn, executive vice president of MTSI, said in a February release. “Pivotal’s amazing light eVTOL platform offers an opportunity to support AFWERX and solve real-world challenges.”

“AFWERX continues to look for ways to accelerate our understanding of eVTOL operations, maintenance, logistics and potential use cases,” said Lt Col John Tekell, AFWERX Agility Prime branch chief. “1-2 person eVTOLs have potential for several missions including special operations, surveillance, and disaster and emergency response with local command and control at a much lower price point than traditional helicopters.”

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