February 15, 2023 By Helicopters Staff
Blade Air Mobility and BETA Technologies on February 14 announced the successful completion of a test flight of BETA’s ALIA-250 EVA at the Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York. The flight marks a significant milestone in the companies’ partnership to bring eVTOL transportation services to commuter and commercial customers.
“This is a historic moment for Blade, New York and the urban air mobility industry,” said Rob Wiesenthal, Chief Executive Officer of Blade. “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 homebase of New York City. We are confident EVAs will be a game-changer both for our company and New York City’s transportation system once certified by the FAA.”
The ALIA-250 aircraft is powered by an all-electric propulsion system with vertical takeoff and landing capability and a noise profile that, according to BETA, is 1/10th the sound decibel level of conventional helicopters.
In April 2021, Blade announced an agreement for the purchase of up to 20 of BETA’s first passenger-configured ALIA-250 aircraft by its network of operators. Blade intends to deploy these initial aircraft on routes between its network of dedicated terminals in the US. BETA has also agreed to provide and install charging infrastructure at certain key locations.
“Blade is flying passengers in key urban markets all over the world and this flight is another step toward delivering our electric aircraft to support those operations,” said Kyle Clark, BETA’s founder and CEO. “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 to work with Blade to operationalize our partnership.”
Over the past three years, BETA worked with two full-scale prototype aircraft toward certification and commercialization. BETA had test pilots from the U.S. Air Force and Army fly the ALIA-250 in full-pattern evaluations in March 2022 and July 2022, respectively. BETA has also partnered with the FAA and the National Institute for Aviation Research to conduct the first-ever 50-foot drop tests of its full-scale battery packs.