BETA and Bristow bring electric flight to Louisiana
BETA Technologies in partnership with Bristow has demonstrated the flight capabilities of its conventional aircraft in Louisiana.
The all-electric conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) aircraft, known as ALIA, made several passes above Houma airfield watched by a crowd including local politicians, airport officials and customers. According to the firms, it is the first time an electric aircraft has flown in the state of Louisiana.
There was a particular focus on what operationalising electric propulsion in critical areas such as the Gulf of Mexico could look like — the gulf is a major service region for Bristow. The global operator and BETA have had a strategic partnership since 2021.
Bristow president and CEO Chris Bradshaw, opened the event. “We believe aircraft like BETA’s ALIA will play an important part in the future of aviation,” said Bradshaw. “These new technologies have the potential to make certain missions more efficient, quieter, more accessible, and more sustainable. We view AAM as a natural extension of Bristow’s core competencies of safe and reliable vertical flight solutions, and we see multiple avenues for Bristow to participate in the emerging AAM value chain.”
BETA’s Founder and CEO, Kyle Clark, added: “We designed ALIA with the goal of carrying out the most critical missions in a safer, cleaner, and more efficient manner. Bristow has built a strong reputation doing this across the globe, and continues to lean forward to what’s next. The team has been a crucial partner to BETA over the years, providing input and support every step of the way from design to mission application to aircraft handling feedback. Today, we’re excited to fly ALIA into Bristow’s home base in Louisiana, marking the first time an electric aircraft has flown in the state and the next step of our partnership together as we look to execute real missions in the market.”
Bristow first placed an order for BETA’s ALIA-250 eVTOL aircraft back in summer 2022. Originally for up to 55 aircraft, when BETA announced it was also developing a CTOL version Bristow placed a deposit-backed order for 50 more.
Dave Stepanek, Bristow’s chief transformation officer, said: “Our vision is to be an innovator in flight solutions. We believe aircraft like BETA’s Alia can expand our offerings and complement some of our current services. Our thinking is our current customers are natural AAM customers initially. We believe it will open up many new possibilities in the Gulf region.”