BETA Technologies unveils certification plans for eCTOL aircraft

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BETA Technologies has revealed plans to certify an eCTOL model of its all-electric aircraft, known as the CX300.

The aircraft is the company’s second all-electric offering. It will pursue the CX300 design in parallel with the ALIA-250, which is already underway. Customers with orders for the eCTOL include United Therapeutics, Bristow, and Air New Zealand. 

The firm has been test flying its CTOL model alongside the ALIA-250 for around two years. In that time the CTOL test article has flown more than 22,000 miles across multiple state lines, completed qualitative evaluation flights with FAA, Air Force and Army test pilots and closed a range of over 386 miles. Testing two prototypes simultaneously captures twice the performance data and allows focus on both hover and horizontal flight, according to BETA. eVTOLs spend more than 98% of flights in horizontal cruise.

“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,” said BETA’s Founder and CEO, Kyle Clark. “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.”

BETA applied for Type Certification of the CX300 with the FAA last year under Part 23, and is targeting 2025 for certification and delivery. The airframe, batteries, propulsion and systems used in the CX300 will be common to the ALIA-250.

The CX300 will meet a variety of regional medical, cargo and passenger missions for customers, according to its developers. Dave Stepanek, Bristow’s executive vice president, and chief transformation officer, said: “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. We see many opportunities to supply logistics and personnel transport with CX300 once the aircraft is certified.”

Fellow customer, Air New Zealand, plans to fly its first zero emissions demonstrator flights in 2026. Kiri Hannifin, Air New Zealand’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said: “Flying towards a more sustainable aviation sector isn’t something that can be solved by one single airline or organisation. It will require world leading innovators like BETA to develop zero emissions aircraft technology, and partnerships between airlines and innovators to ensure such technology is viable for commercial flying.”

BETA continues to progress its ALIA-250 through certification. The firm began hovering on its current flight controller and algorithm five years ago, with its first prototype. It has since migrated both to the current ALIA eVTOL test article, achieving a first hover in 2020, and envelope expanding manoeuvring hover flights since.

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