October 2, 2023
An air taxi developer just opened a manufacturing facility in Vermont for the large-scale production of its electric aircraft.
The 188,500-square-foot facility was opened by Beta Technologies at the Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport in Vermont, where Beta plans to build its eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) and CTOL (conventional takeoff and landing) aircraft.
Beta’s Alia vertical and conventional takeoff vehicles are targeted for military and commercial use, including for medical, defense and passenger industries.
“The team here at Beta is excited to enter the next phase of our growing electric aerospace business,” said Kyle Clark, CEO and founder. “We have worked through research, engineering, prototyping, test flying, initial phases of certification and now we are entering our next important step of starting production, in an inspiring facility.”
Beta has been working on developing its electric with numerous aerospace suppliers including Albany Engineered Composites, Advanced Integration Technology, Garmin, Sensata Technologies, Volz Servis and Solvay.
The new production facility, located on a 40-acre site at the airport, could ultimately produce 300 electric aerial vehicles (EAV) a year, according to the company.
The company also has locations in Plattsburgh, New York, Washington, D.C., Montreal, Canada, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Springfield, Ohio.
Beta says it has flown more than 500 piloted flights of its battery-powered aircraft.
The EAV maker recently flew one of its vehicles from New York to Montreal, crossing international borders. The flight took off from Plattsburgh International Airport in New York and landed at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport 30 minutes later.
The test flight, with a pilot and flight test engineer on board, was in the battery-powered Alia CTOL.
Beta also recently installed aircraft electric charging stations at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida to service the coming test of electric flying vehicles there.
Beta’s eCTOL aircraft is planned for service in 2025 with its vertical version in service the following year, with delivery and testing to Eglin within the next few months.
A large number of EAVs are eVTOLs, which do not require traditional runways, since they take off and land straight up and down.
Vertiport facilities to manage the takeoff, landing, charging and maintenance of such vehicles are being established by companies including Volatus Infrastructure and Aeroauto Vertiport Development, which has retail showrooms for flying vehicle sales in Florida.
A Department of Defense (DoD) research center partnered with Beta starting in 2020 to develop electric aviation in the U.S. military market. Beta received an airworthiness certificate for manned flight from the military, with military test pilots flying the vehicles.
Beta Technologies’ electric charger can charge an electric aircraft in less than an hour, according to the company.
Numerous other electric flying vehicle companies are interacting with the U.S. military, which continues to show keen interest in electric flying vehicles with various capabilities.
Countless EAVs are under development, ranging from those in the ultralight category, which do not require a pilot license, to air taxis. Major airlines including Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines all have placed orders or pre-orders for electric aerial vehicles.
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