October 19, 2023
An electric aerial vehicle (EAV) landed at a Maryland Air Force base on the way to Florida from Burlington, Vermont, this week.
The Alia electric aircraft from Beta Technologies landed at Joint Base Andrews during its multi-stop trip on the way to Florida.
Beta recently installed aircraft electric charging stations at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle to service the coming test of its electric flying vehicles there.
Beta makes both an eVTOL (electric vertical and takeoff) aircraft and an eCTOL (electric conventional takeoff and landing) craft.
The Alia that landed at Andrew was the electric conventional takeoff and landing version.
Beta’s eCTOL aircraft is planned for service in 2025 with its vertical version in service the following year.
Beta has partnered with AFWERX, the innovation arm of the U.S. Air Force that leverages the Air Force Research Laboratory for this program.
The two organizations are collaborating to develop advanced eVTOL aircraft for potential military applications.
"JBA is a high-visibility area with people from the Pentagon, Congress and government officials, so we really wanted to target this area to be able to showcase the aircraft, its capabilities, and to let people see all-electric aviation is possible,” said a statement from Beta. “Demonstrating the Alia is the goal for the road show we’re doing all the way down to Florida.”
Beta recently flew its EAV from New York to Montreal, crossing international borders.
This week’s flight had to navigate inside heavily restricted Washington D.C. airspace to get to Andrews, the home of Air Force One.
Beta test flights generally have a pilot and flight test engineer on board.
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 globally by companies including Volatus Infrastructure and Aeroauto Vertiport Development, which also has retail showrooms for flying vehicle sales in Florida.
Beta received an airworthiness certificate for manned flight from the military, with military test pilots flying the vehicles.
Beta’s 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 fly, 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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