By Elan Head

An award-winning journalist, Elan is also a commercial helicopter pilot and an FAA Gold Seal flight instructor with helicopter and instrument ratings. Follow her on Twitter @elanhead

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Beta Technologies adds Will Roper, Edward Eppler to leadership team

The Vermont-based eVTOL developer Beta Technologies has announced two key leadership appointments, naming Dr. Will Roper to its board of directors and Edward Eppler as chief financial officer.

Beta Technologies' Alia
Beta is developing the all-electric Alia eVTOL for logistics, medical, defense, and passenger missions. Eric Adams Photo

Roper is the former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics who oversaw the launch of Agility Prime, the Air Force’s effort to accelerate development of the commercial eVTOL industry. Beta’s all-electric Alia aircraft secured a military flight release from the Air Force earlier this year, and is now conducting operational test flights under the Agility Prime program.

Since resigning from the Air Force in January, Roper has joined the boards of several aerospace technology companies, including Volansi, a commercial drone company; Red 6, a developer of synthetic air combat training technology; and Vita Inclinata, which is developing load stabilization systems for helicopters and cranes. On July 8, Roper was also announced as CEO of Volansi, which Beta described as “a complementary business that will provide Beta with further opportunities in the aerospace industry.”

“Supporting the military allowed me to work with many first-of-its-kind technologies. Joining Beta’s board continues this by spearheading the first sustainable, reliable electric aviation ecosystem,” Roper stated in a press release.

“What Beta is building requires vision — but it’s the company’s technological innovation and approach to design and certification that is making this vision reality. I’m proud to join a team that is pushing boundaries and leveraging military programs as a means to do it. This is what I hoped for when starting Agility Prime.”

Beta’s new CFO, Edward Eppler, previously served as global head of Aerospace and Defense Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs, and brings nearly 30 years of investment banking experience to the startup, including deep experience advising aerospace companies and investors in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and public and private financings.

“I have no doubt that electric aviation is the future of transportation,” Eppler stated. “After spending the last two decades leading capital raising and M&A transactions in the aerospace market to encourage its evolution, I’m excited to join Beta, who is transforming the industry with a cleaner, greener and more versatile form of aviation.”

Beta recently closed a $368 million Series A funding round led by Fidelity Management & Research Company and joined by Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, valuing the company at just under $1.4 billion. In the past several months, Beta has announced significant deals with UPS and Blade Urban Air Mobility. It also has a launch customer in United Therapeutics, whose CEO, Martine Rothblatt, also serves on Beta’s board and recently took part in an Alia test flight.

Beta is pursuing Federal Aviation Administration certification of Alia with the goal of starting first deliveries in 2024. Last week, its prototype flew more than 200 miles (320 kilometers) in airplane mode, on its way to a target eVTOL range of 250 nautical miles (460 km).

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