Vermont-based Beta Technologies is continuing to check off milestones in its flight test program, recently announcing a successful flight on June 23 using its Alia-250 electric aircraft.
Conducted in conventional take-off and landing mode, the aircraft flew between two Amazon Air Hubs in Northern Kentucky and Ohio region — it was the first time the eVTOL company flew between Amazon facilities.
Carefully documented by the Vertical Flight Society, Beta recently made a significant two-part cross-country flight, completing a 1,400-mile (2,250-kilometer) journey across six states.
The Alia took off at its flight test center in northern New York last month and travelled across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas over several days, recharging its batteries along the way using its own charging infrastructure. Its aircraft was then displayed at the UP.Summit in Bentonville, Arkansas, earlier this month.
“Over the past year, we’ve significantly expanded our flight test program to include market survey flights with customers, conducting several successful real-life missions,” stated Kyle Clark, founder and CEO of Beta. “Flights like these are not just an exciting and informative step forward for our program, but they also prove the viability of electric aviation and show that this technology is capable of operating with the variables of cross-country flying and in the national airspace system.”
The company has been conducting its cross-country flight tests with its Alia aircraft configured as a conventional fixed-wing. A company spokesperson told eVTOL.com that a second Alia prototype configured for VTOL flights is also being tested at its facility in Burlington, Vermont, but Beta hasn’t set a timeline for when it plans to complete first transition flights.
In addition to the milestone flight between the Amazon facilities, the multinational tech company has recently provided new funding to Beta, which the eVTOL startup said will be used to accelerate growth and operations. Amazon had previously contributed to Beta’s private funding round last year through the company’s $2-billion Climate Pledge Fund.
“We’re thrilled to continue to invest in Beta through the Climate Pledge Fund, as we must work together across industries and companies to make meaningful changes that positively impact our planet in the fight against climate change,” stated Kara Hurst, vice president of worldwide sustainability at Amazon.
Beta has confirmed with eVTOL.com that Amazon is not yet a customer, but in an interview with CNBC last year, Clark said he envisions his aircraft to one day be used for Amazon Prime deliveries.
Beta has already announced orders from UPS for up to 150 Alia aircraft, as well as Blade Air Mobility for up to 20 aircraft and LCI for up to 125 aircraft. United Therapeutics will be Beta’s launch partner and has plans to use the Alia to transport organs for human transplant.
Beta’s aircraft is targeting a cargo capacity of 1,400 pounds (635 kilograms), and range of 250 miles (400 kilometers).