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Beta to certify and produce electric fixed-wing aircraft

Editor's note: This story was updated March 17 for clarity.

Vermont-based electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft developer Beta Technologies announced plans to certify and bring to market the fixed-wing version of the company’s fully electric eVTOL Alia-250 aircraft, the eCTOL CX300.

Beta's electric CTOL prototype, during a flight test at the flight testing facility in Plattsburgh, New York. Photo courtesy of Beta Technologies.

Over the last two years, Beta’s fixed-wing eCTOL (electric conventional takeoff and landing) aircraft has flown over 22,000 miles’ worth of test flights, including a 386-mile nonstop test flight from Jamestown to Plattsburgh, New York. During this time, the electric CTOL prototype also went through several qualitative evaluation flights by the FAA, Air Force, and Army test pilots.

The CX300, while lacking the vertical lift capability Beta originally envisioned, already has clients chomping at the bit with orders placed by United Therapeutics, Air New Zealand as part of the Mission Next Gen Aircraft program, and vertical flight solutions company Bristow.

“As a continuation of our original partnership with Beta on their Alia-250 eVTOL, the CX300 gives us additional capability to introduce electric and sustainable aviation to our customer base around the world,” Dave Stepanek, Bristow executive vice president and chief transformation officer, said. “We see many opportunities to supply logistics and personnel transport with CX300 once the aircraft is certified.”

Beta's Alia-250 electric VTOL aircraft in flight. Photo courtesy of Beta Technologies.

Beta plans to certify the CX300 in conjunction with its Alia-250 eVTOL model that the company says is also currently moving through the FAA certification process. Beta is testing the two models simultaneously to glean more performance data and focus on both vertical lift and fixed-wing flight. The Alia-250 and CX300 will share the same airframe, batteries, motors, and electrical systems.

The company is designing both aircraft to be used for short-haul and regional cargo, medical, defense, and passenger operations with zero operational emissions, a lower noise profile than a conventional helicopter, and a goal of lowered operational costs.

Beta plans to manufacture the aircraft at its new nearly 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility currently under construction in South Burlington, Vermont. The facility is slated to be up and running by the end of the summer.

Beta founder and CEO Kyle Clark said, “We have been flying our eCTOL prototype airport-to-airport for a few years now to drive technological advancements in propulsion and systems, and now we’re seeing that there is a clear market for this product in addition to our eVTOL aircraft. Global operators are looking for practical solutions to help meet their sustainability commitments, and after seeing the cost and performance of this prototype, our customers are eager to integrate it into their fleet. With its known certification and operational path, this aircraft represents an opportunity to get electric aviation into the market, and into the hands of our customers, as quickly as possible.”

Beta applied for FAA type certification of the CX300 last year under Part 23 and the company hopes to have the aircraft certified and delivered to customers in 2025.

Image courtesy of Beta Technologies.

Niki Britton

eMedia Content Producer
eMedia Content Producer Niki Britton joined AOPA in 2021. She is a private pilot who enjoys flying her 1969 Cessna 182 and taking aerial photographs.

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