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.
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 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; however, at this time the Alia-250 spends more than 98 percent of its flight time in fixed-wing cruise. 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 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.