UAM Snapshot – Beta Technologies Alia

Source: Beta Technologies

In April 2024, Vermont-based Beta Technologies announced that a piloted prototype model of its Alia eVTOL platform had successfully executed a piloted inflight transition from vertical lift to conventional forward flight, a significant developmental milestone signaling the deepening maturation and viability of the design as it advances towards introduction into an operational and commercial context.

The piloted Alia eVTOL platform features four vertical rotors and one pusher, powered by electric battery packs and allowing for a top speed of 222 kmh (138 mph.) The aircraft can host up to five passengers but is also configured to host an enlarged rear door in order to facilitate its utilization as a cargo transportation asset. Alongside its eVTOL line, Beta has also dedicated resources to the development of the Alia eCTOL, a conventional variant intended for the execution of shorter distance passenger flights and logistical tasks.

Over the last several years, Beta has been building up its infrastructural base and establishing partnerships. In 2021, U.S shipping service UPS announced plans to acquire 10 Alia series aircraft, with an option for 140 more. In October 2023, the United States Air Force received an Alia eCTOL as part of its efforts to study the potential applications and benefits of sustainable aircraft platforms. That same month, the company announced the opening of its primary manufacturing hub at Burlington’s Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport.  Beta hopes to achieve a manufacturing rate of up to 300 units per year at the facility, with the first deliveries to UPS due to begin as early as this year.