U.S. Army Partners with eVTOL Developer Beta Technologies

Source: Flying

Vermont-based Beta Technologies announced it has won a U.S. Army contract to support flight testing of its Alia electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

The partnership eventually aims to help the Army test specific military cargo and logistics missions for eVTOLs, while allowing Beta to accelerate development for both military and civil applications. 

The Army contract isn’t Beta’s first partnership in the military sector. In 2020, it joined the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX Agility Prime program, specifically designed to accelerate development of the emerging eVTOL industry. 

“This partnership with the Army marks another important step in the military’s commitment to advancing and adopting sustainable electric aviation solutions,” said Beta founder and CEO Kyle Clark in a statement. “We’re gratified by the continued support of the sector, and this allows us to accelerate our development of Alia as an incredibly safe and reliable logistics aircraft for both military and civil applications.”

Initially, Army engineers and Beta’s team plan to evaluate how Alia might best be applied to specific missions by measuring its range, altitude, endurance, and payload limits.

About the Aircraft

First revealed in 2020, Alia is Beta’s second-generation eVTOL test article. It’s a single-prop pusher with a 50-foot wing and V-tail. The aircraft achieves vertical lift during takeoff and landing from four fixed rotors. Alia is being developed for multiple roles, including cargo, medical transport, and passenger transportation. Beta says the aircraft will be capable of carrying a pilot and cargo—or four passengers—as far as 250 nm on a single charge. Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW): 6,999 pounds. 

According to Beta, Alia set industry records last year, flying 205 nm on a single charge and reaching an altitude of 8,000 feet. The aircraft has flown multiple times between New York’s Plattsburgh (KPBG) airport and Beta’s headquarters at Vermont’s Burlington International Airport (KBTV). 

About Beta Technologies

Although it doesn’t expect to achieve FAA aircraft type certification for Alia until 2024, Beta has already announced purchase agreements with UPS Flight Forward (NYSE:UPS) and Blade Urban Air Mobility (NASDAQ:BLDE). Also, Alia received the U.S. Air Force’s first airworthiness approval for a crewed eVTOL last year.

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