BETA Technologies is to certify the CX300, a eCTOL model of its all-electric aircraft, marking the company’s second all-electric aircraft offering in parallel with its existing ALIA-250 eVTOL.
New and existing customers have placed orders for the eCTOL aircraft, including United Therapeutics, Bristow, and Air New Zealand. BETA will test two prototypes simultaneously in order to capture twice the performance data and concurrently focus on both hover and wingborne flight, as eVTOLs spend more than 98% of flights in wingborne cruise.
BETA’s eCTOL test milestones include flying more than 22,000 miles, crossing multiple state lines, completing qualitative evaluation flights with FAA, Air Force and Army test pilots, and closing a range of over 386 miles. BETA has designed both its eCTOL and eVTOL aircraft to fulfill essential missions for its customer base across the cargo, medical, defense, and passenger sectors.
“We have been flying our airport-to-airport eCTOL prototype for a few years now to drive technological advancements in propulsion and systems, and now we see that there is a clear market for this product in addition to our eVTOL aircraft,” said BETA’s founder and CEO, Kyle Clark.
“We continue to progress the ALIA design through certification, in harmony with the eCTOL program to provide lower cost and more options.”
BETA applied to the FAA last year for Type Certification of the CX300 under Part 23, and is targeting 2025 for certification and delivery. The airframe, batteries, propulsion and systems used in the CX300 will be common with the ALIA-250, which is already advancing through the FAA certification process and achieved a first hover in 2020.
BETA’s CX300 airport-to-airport capabilities will provide a low operational cost, high-use aircraft that operators can integrate into their networks immediately. ‘Top global operators’ have placed orders for the CX300 with plans to integrate it into cargo and passenger network operations.
After selecting BETA as a partner in its Mission Next-Gen Aircraft program in 2022, Air New Zealand has declared an intent to order three eCTOL aircraft, with an option for 20 more.
“Flying towards a more sustainable aviation sector isn’t something that can be solved by one single airline or organisation,” said Air New Zealand’s Chief Sustainability Officer Kiri Hannifin.
“At Air New Zealand we have an ambition to fly our first zero emissions commercial demonstrator flight from 2026. Our partnership with BETA is incredibly important to helping us get there.”
Bristow, a leading global provider of innovative and sustainable vertical flight solutions, has placed a deposit-backed order for up to 50 eCTOL aircraft. This comes in addition to its original order of five eVTOL aircraft, with an option for up to 55 more.
“As a continuation of our original partnership with BETA on the Alia 250 eVTOL, we see many opportunities to supply logistics and personnel transport with CX300 once the aircraft is certified,” said Dave Stepanek, Bristow executive VP.