Beta and Blade Prove eVTOL Viability with Test at KHPN

 - February 14, 2023, 10:36 AM
Beta Technologies made a test flight of its six-seat, all-electric eVTOL aircraft.

This morning, Beta Technologies made a test flight of its six-seat, all-electric Alia-250 EVA eVTOL at the Westchester County Airport (KHPN) in White Plains, New York. The flight, which was performed in cooperation with Blade Air Mobility, was the first of an eVTOL aircraft in the New York metropolitan area. The Alia-250 flew alongside a conventional helicopter before pulling away for a second pass above the airport to highlight the eVTOL’s comparative quietness. Beta claims its noise profile is one-tenth that of a conventional helicopter.

In April 2021, Blade agreed to facilitate the purchase of up to 20 passenger-configured Alia-250s by its network of operators. Blade intends to deploy these aircraft on routes between its network of dedicated terminals in the U.S. Beta has also agreed to provide and install charging infrastructure at certain key locations.

"This is a historic moment for Blade, New York, and the urban air mobility industry," said Blade CEO Rob Wiesenthal. "This demonstration is a big milestone in our transition from helicopters to electric vertical aircraft, and we are pleased that our partners at Beta have designed the right aircraft with the requisite range, capacity, and noise profile for use in our key markets, including our home base of New York City.”

Beta founder and CEO Kyle Clark added, “We continue to progress our aircraft, flying real-life missions and gaining proficiency in the national airspace. We were glad to be able to fly here from our flight test facility in Plattsburgh [New York] to work with Blade to operationalize our partnership." Beta has produced two prototype aircraft to date. They were flown by U.S. Air Force and Army test pilots last year—the first flight of eVTOL aircraft by pilots from those services.