© 2024 WVIK
Listen at 90.3 FM and 98.3 FM in the Quad Cities, 95.9 FM in Dubuque, or on the WVIK app!
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Vertiport Under Construction in Rock Island

the site in Rock Island, just east of the Arsenal Island viaduct, and along Sylvan Slough
the site in Rock Island, just east of the Arsenal Island viaduct, and along Sylvan Slough

Plans are in the works to build a small airport in Rock Island. But instead of planes, the "vertiport" would be for helicopters and drones.

Jake Pautsch, CEO of a Davenport-based company called DIFCO, Incorporated, says at first it would be a takeoff and landing site for medical helicopters because it's centrally located among six hospitals.

"Because in a situation where a medical helicopter encountered bad weather, and obviously if you're transporting a patient, it's not ideal to be taking them to an airport that's very, very far away from a hospital."

The location, at 3050 3rd Avenue in Rock Island, also is far enough away from buildings and other obstacles to provide a safe landing site.

And sometime in the future the vertiport could host battery-powered drones.

"So it would be used by any company that wants to develop their own drone program - whether that be a hospital to deliver medications, or whether it be a company like Amazon or Walgreens that wants to deliver their products."

Eventually Pautsch hopes to build a solar array that would provide electricity to power the un-manned aircraft.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois. While a graduate student in the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield (then known as Sangamon State University), he got his first taste of public radio, covering Illinois state government for WUIS. Here in the Quad Cities, Herb worked for WHBF Radio before coming to WVIK in 1987. Herb also produces the weekly public affairs feature Midwest Week – covering the news behind the news by interviewing reporters about the stories they cover.