OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Transportation has designated the Olympia Regional Airport as a beta test site for electric aircraft.
The Olympia Regional Airport was identified as one of six test sites in a feasibility study published by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WASDOT) aviation division last month. WSDOT aviation industry stakeholders have explored setting up electric aircraft service in the state for the past two years.
According to the study, electric and hybrid-electric aircraft manufacturers expect that at least 20 planes will be in service by 2030, with more than a dozen more in development. The plan includes strictly electric aircraft with a capacity for up to 19 passengers and hydroelectric 70-passenger aircraft and light cargo planes.
The state is first is aiming to use the beta test sites as a system to test the functionality of electric aircraft technology. Several factors were evaluated to select the beta test sites. Some of these factors included the availability of a 3,000-foot runway, connectivity to airports within 500 nautical miles, existing on-airport aerospace manufacturing and an ideal geographic location.
Other beta test sites are Chehalis-Centralia airport in Chehalis, Boeing Field/King County International in Seattle, Felts Field in Spokane, Yakima Air Terminal-McAllister Field in Yakima, and Grant Country International in Moses Lake.