Beta Vertical take off and landing airplane

Beta achieves piloted full transition test flight with eVTOL aircraft

Source: Vertical Magazine

Demonstrating that the company is one of the frontrunners in the electric aviation sector, Vermont-based Beta Technologies has achieved a significant flight test milestone with it’s Alia-250 eVTOL aircraft.

Achieving a full transition with an eVTOL is a difficult but important landmark that few companies have reached. Beta has not only accomplished this with its lift-plus-cruise aircraft but has done so with a pilot on board, making it one of the first eVTOL developers to reach the milestone with a pilot in the cockpit.

“We fly with people on board right now because that’s how we’re going to be flying in the future,” Kyle Clark, Beta’s founder and CEO, previously told Vertical. “We are not going to introduce pilots just before we launch. Pilots are part and parcel of the design of the aircraft, and therefore, we fly manned missions.”

Along with the eVTOL aircraft, Beta is also designing a fixed-wing electric conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) aircraft. Its entire structure, including its avionics, interior, and pusher motor, closely mirrors that of the eVTOL version, except it doesn’t have the overhead lifting propellers.

The company has long been flying its eCTOL aircraft with a pilot on board, accomplishing several milestones with the prototype. This includes a multi-mission flight from Plattsburgh, New York, to Louisville, Kentucky, in December 2022; a demonstration flight in the greater New York airspace in February 2023; and the aircraft’s first international flight across the border to Montreal, Quebec, in September 2023, among other flight milestones.

The company said it has clocked more than 40,000 nautical miles across both aircraft types in the four years that it has flown Alia prototypes.

With a list of customers interested in both aircraft types, Beta plans to type certify its eCTOL with the Federal Aviation Administration in 2025, followed by its eVTOL in 2026. The aircraft will be used for military missions, cargo logistics, and medical delivery by customers like United Therapeutics, UPS, Bristow, LCI, Blade, Helijet, Air New Zealand, and the U.S. Air Force.

Beta is also building multimodal, interoperable charging infrastructure, capable to charging other electric aircraft and vehicles. Its Charge Cube technology recently received UL certification in April 2024, confirming the technology is compliant with safety regulations and standards.

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