After Joby Aviation and Pipistrel, to name but a few, it is the turn of Beta Technologies to have its device tested by the US Air Force, which will test it at Duke Field in Florida. The goal is to determine the potential uses of the ADACe version, including freight delivery and personnel transportation.
Beta Technologies entrusts the Alia ADACe to AFWERX…
After Joby Aviation and Pipistrel, it is the turn of Beta Technologies to work with the US Air Force and AFWERX, the entity dedicated to electric-powered aircraft dependent on the AFRL, the Air Force Research Laboratory or AFRL is the Air Force research laboratory. The Alia, Beta’s aircraft in the eCTOL or rather ADACe version – Electric Conventional Takeoff and Landing Aircraft -, has reached the Duke Field air base, to begin a testing period which will extend over several months with the American Air Force. The aircraft reached Florida -Duke Field- by air. More precisely, the aircraft took off from Plattsburgh, New York, its home port. The Alia traveled more than 1,500 nautical miles (2,778 km) across 12 states using a specific authorization issued by the FAA.
…Who will test the device and evaluate its potential uses
The electric aircraft and its flight test team will work at Duke Field with the 413th Squadron to conduct practical testing and training with the Alia and its related technology, primarily Alia-developed recharging. The US Air Force aims to test and validate the aircraft’s potential uses, including cargo delivery and personnel transport. The idea for the fixed-wing CX300 materialized in early 2022, when the startup was carrying out demonstration flights for customers with its Alia-250 prototype in ADAC configuration. It was during a flight demonstration that a potential customer asked if the Alia-250 in its ADAC configuration could be sold to them, rather than having to wait for technology and regulations to allow the ADAVe version to be commercialized. The airframe, batteries and avionics are common and identical to those of the ADAVe version, known as Alia-250, minus the rotors. This allows the ADCe version greater autonomy and a greater payload.
Certification planned for 2025
What sets Beta apart from other manufacturers is, among other things, the installation of several recharging stations, on at least more than 10 sites in the United States – one of which was carried out at the Englin air base, which adjoins the one at Duke Field where the Alia- will be tested. Beta has also developed an app to help operators use them. The company has more than 50 other facilities under permitting or construction at other locations on the U.S. East Coast. Typically, an airside charging station provides fast charging at up to 350 kW and is compatible with many ADAVe aircraft models, while dual-port units in airport parking areas can also support electric vehicles on the ground. Beta is aiming for certification of the ADAC version of the Alia offering six seats in 2025. The ADAVe version should be certified in 2026.