Beta’s Alia Makes a Highly-charged Trip

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Beta Technologies has taken an all or nothing approach from its beginning, designing charging stations and flight crew centers to complement its aerial vehicles.  Last month, Beta got a chance to show at least part of its cross-country ambitions. A Six-State Outing From May 23 to May 24, Betas Alia 250 eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft made one of the longest cross-country flights at that time for such a vehicle.   Alia did not take advantage of its vertical capabilities, relying instead on conventional runway-borne takeoffs and landings. The total flight from Plattsburgh to Bentonville covered 1,355 miles (2,181 kilometers) and took almost 12 hours – about like a similar flight in a Cessna 172. Charging Stations Beta …

BETA and Blade Cut Deal for 20 Alia’s

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Business as Unusual BETA Technologies made a big move from its highly complex Ava to a simpler Alia, and managed to snag an initial order for up to 150 of its new craft from United Parcel Service (UPS).  This was followed by the signing of a binding agreement with Blade for another 20 craft for passenger service. Vermont Business Magazine reports that BETA Technologies started with its first customer and partner, United Therapeutics, which will rely on BETA’s aircraft to deliver organs for human transplantation.  High speed and reliability are obvious premiums in this endeavor.  Recently, United Parcel Service (UPS) announced it reserved the right to purchase 150 of BETA’s aircraft, with the first 10 to be delivered beginning in …

Beta Alia: Electric with Tern-like Grace

Dean Sigler Biomimicry, Hybrid Aircraft, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

A new aircraft’s first takeoff is usually performed under its own power, but the recent trip by Beta Technologies’ just-revealed Alia eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft was externally powered.  A 30-minute lift across Lake Champlain from Alia’s birthplace in Burlington, Vermont to its test site in Plattsburgh, New York was uneventful, but spectacular nonetheless. Helicarrier Assists on First Flight Hauled 100 feet below a Sikorsky S-61N from Quebec-based Helicarrier, the all-white, four-rotor Alia “crossed over the northern end of Burlington. With streets along its route blocked off by police, [it] then flew at a stately pace across the lake, usually just a few hundred feet above the surface of the water,” according to Vertical.com. Helicarrier, besides sharing …

Air Race E Leaps Forward with Eight Teams

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

The public got a glimpse of Air Race E at this year’s Dubai Air Show.  Jeff Zaltman, CEO of Air Race E and Sandra Bour-Schaeffer, head of XO Airbus Demonstrators, pulled the wraps on Team Condor’s converted Cassutt racer – one of eight teams entering the fray.   Race E is an update of the classic small aircraft races held following World War II, and many of the airplanes in the upcoming events will be re-motored and redesigned versions of these craft.  Formula 1 racing has not changed much since its 1947 inception. Most air small air racers relied on the Continental C-85 engine, mildly uprated and turning faster than it did in Aeronca Champions or Piper Cubs.  Formula E …

Beta Technologies Testing Actual Prototype

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Kyle Clark heads Beta Technologies, an aircraft company flying under the radar until recently.  Beta’s prototype, based on an RDD LX7, uses eight electric motors driving one fixed-pitch propeller each.  These are mounted on rotating tubular arms that allow vertical takeoffs and landings with the propellers in horizontal orientation and a claimed 170 mph cruise when in vertical orientation. VT Digger, an independent non-profit journal, reports, “Using homemade flight simulators, an array of 3D printers, a machine shop, and a team of nearly 40 staff and contracted engineers, Clark has big plans for his self-funded company, which occupies a hangar and other buildings at the Burlington airport. He intends to stand out for creating an aircraft with a power system …