Beta’s Alia completes test flight between Amazon facilities



Beta Technologies has successfully completed a flight using its Alia-250 electric aircraft. Conducted in conventional take-off and landing mode, as part of its flight test programme the aircraft flew between two Amazon Air Hubs in Northern Kentucky and Ohio region. 

“Over the past year, we’ve significantly expanded our flight test programme to include market survey flights with customers, conducting several successful real-life missions,” said  Kyle Clark, founder and CEO of Beta. “Flights like these are not just an exciting and informative step forward for our program, but they also prove the viability of electric aviation and show that this technology is capable of operating with the variables of cross-country flying and in the national airspace system.”

Beta also recently made a two-part cross-country flight, completing a 1,400m (2,250km) journey across six states.

The Alia took off at its flight test centre in northern New York last month and travelled across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas over several days, recharging its batteries along the way using its own charging infrastructure. Its aircraft was then displayed at the UP.Summit in Bentonville, Arkansas, earlier in June.

The firm has been conducting its cross-country flight tests with its Alia aircraft configured as a conventional fixed-wing. Beta said a second Alia prototype configured for VTOL flights is also being tested at its facility in Burlington, Vermont, but it hasn’t set a timeline for when it plans to complete first transition flights.

As well as the inter-facility flight, Amazon has recently provided new funding to Beta. Amazon had previously contributed to Beta’s private funding round last year through the company’s $2bn Climate Pledge Fund.

Before this latest undisclosed investment, Beta had reportedly secured nearly $800m in private investment, after receiving $375m in its latest series B funding round in April.  

Kara Hurst, vice president, Worldwide Sustainability, Amazon, said: “We’re thrilled to continue to invest in Beta through the Climate Pledge Fund, as we must work together across industries and companies to make meaningful changes that positively impact our planet in the fight against climate change.”