Beta Technologies has opened a production facility in Vermont, USA for its Alia eVTOL and fixed wing CX300 aircraft.
The 188,500 sq ft factory at Leahy Burlington International Airport can produce up to 300 aircraft per year and is located on a 40-acre site with space to double in size. Beta also has its R&D headquarters and a maintenance and training hangar in South Burlington, Vermont.
Beta has 500 orders for its Alia eVTOL aircraft from companies including charter operator Bristow, of up to 55 aircraft, and delivery firm UPS of up to 150. The Alia is expected to enter service in 2026.
The Alia will have a maximum range of 287 miles (460km) and is designed to carry 1,400 lbs (6,350kg) of payload or six people including a pilot. The battery-powered aircraft, which has a 50ft (15m) wingspan and a carbon-fiber fuselage, uses a single distributed direct-electric propulsion system and has four horizontally mounted rotors to provide vertical lift, and a single propeller in the rear to propel the aircraft forward.
The company’s all-electric fixed-wing aircraft, called the CX300 was revealed in March this year and is a variant of the Alia, but without the rotors for vertical lift and conventional take-off and landing systems. Other main systems and components are common between the two aircraft, but the CX300 has a range of up to 386 miles (621km).
Air New Zealand has so far ordered up to 20 and Bristow has placed an order for up to 50 CX300s.
Last month a prototype CX300 became the first to cross an international border, between the USA and Canada, according to Beta. The 64 mile (102km) test flight was conducted between Plattsburgh International Airport in New York and Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montréal.
In addition the Alia became the first eVTOL aircraft to be piloted in the New York City region earlier this year.
According to Beta it has flown more than 500 full-scale, piloted flights on BETA-built battery systems, accumulating more than 26,000 test flight miles. It said it has also done more than 10,000 hours of testing on electric motors produced on its own pilot production lines.
The company plans a steady ramp up to maximum production rates at the South Burlington factory, and while aircraft production has begun it is simultaneously finalizing installation of all manufacturing tooling and subsystems production lines.
Kyle Clark, CEO and Founder of BETA said, “We have worked through research, engineering, prototyping, test flying, initial phases of certification and now we are entering our next important step of starting production, in an inspiring facility,”
Beta added that it has developed and is exercising its quality management systems and manufacturing process procedures and standards while working closely with the FAA to certify them, it said.