Beta Technologies’ Alia prototype has made a landmark 2,000-mile flight from Vermont straight to Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base. This electric bird is set to be a new training tool for the U.S. Air Force’s 413th Squadron. The timing couldn’t be better, with Beta just setting up an electric charging station at the base.
The Alia didn’t just land; it marked the start of a months-long mission at Duke Field, Eglin Air Force Base. The plan? Beta’s flight test team and the USAF will explore how this electric air taxi can serve in defense. Think cargo drops and moving personnel. Plus, the USAF crew will get hands-on training on flying and maintaining the Alia.
The journey to Florida was epic. Over 16 days, Alia soared over 12 states, stopping around 20 times to juice up its batteries at Beta’s charging stations. Speaking of which, Beta’s not just about flying. They’re setting up charging hubs across the U.S. Right now, 13 are up and running in the east, with 55 more planned for the East and Gulf Coasts.
Beta’s electric airplane, developed alongside the buzzworthy Alia-250 eVTOL, got the green light from the FAA for its cross-country adventures. The Alia prototype, initially a stepping stone to the eVTOL, has now made its mark with several flights, even reaching Canada. On its way to Eglin, it wasn’t solo; Beta pilots, including CEO Kyle Clark, took turns at the controls.
Colonel Elliott Leigh of AFWERX highlighted the synergy, saying, “We are really excited about companies like BETA when they invent things like this. It is going to transform the way we see air travel in the world, but it is also going to transform the way we have air power in the Air Force. We’re going to learn what we can do with vehicles like this and we’re going to take it to our warfighters.” He’s all in on teaming up with U.S. businesses for cutting-edge air capabilities.
Beta’s been in sync with the USAF since 2020 through the Afwerx Agility Prime program, aiming to supercharge electric aviation tech for commercial and defense use. And they’re leading the pack, being the first eVTOL crew to get a military thumbs-up for airworthiness.
Kyle Clark, the driving force of Beta, was enthusiastic about deploying Alia at Duke Field, which represents their upcoming significant step. They’re fully prepared for robust collaboration with the U.S. Air Force.
Looking to the skies, Beta’s got big plans. Their aircraft are set to revolutionize air taxis and cargo logistics. They’ve already got nods from big names like Bristow and UPS. While their eVTOL is pegged to hit around 250 miles on one charge, the fixed-wing prototype has already zoomed past that, logging a cool 386 miles.
Beta Technologies is electrifying the aviation scene. Their recent flight and partnership with the USAF are just the start. As eVTOLs and electric aircraft become the norm, all eyes will be on how they redefine air travel’s next chapter.