Beta Technologies’ Electric Aircraft Completes Cross-Border Flight

The trip from Plattsburgh, New York, to Montreal marks another step toward certification.

Beta Technologies’ Alia CTOL aircraft has flown more than 22,000 nm in testing. [Courtesy: Beta Technologies]

Beta Technologies, an aerospace company based in South Burlington, Vermont, said it has completed the first flight of a fully-electric aircraft into Montréal.

The company landed its battery-powered Alia eCTOL, an electric conventional takeoff and landing aircraft, at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (CYUL) on September 27. The 30-minute flight began at Beta’s flight test center at Plattsburgh International Airport (KPBG) in New York, and covered 55 nm.

Beta test pilot Chris Caputo flew the Alia with flight test engineer Emma Davis flying in the right seat. The flight included traversing the Class B airspace of Trudeau international, which typically serves an average of 53,000 passengers daily.

Beta flew the aircraft to its Montréal office, which the company opened in March as part of a plan to tap into the region’s pool of aerospace talent. The company’s Canadian team has since grown to 70 and is expected to expand further as Beta’s aircraft move closer to certification.

"Beta's technological and operational achievement of successfully completing the all-electric binational flight from Plattsburgh, New York, to Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, marks a major turning point for the entire industry, the region and the aerospace sector in Quebec,” said Mélanie Lussier, president of Aéro Montréal, and one of a group of industry leaders present for the electric aircraft’s arrival. “This major first demonstrates the industry's commitment to sustainable mobility, and the fruit of collaborative innovation to redefine, create and commercialize an entirely new response for the aviation sector.”

“It’s exciting to have this opportunity to fly our all-electric aircraft into one of the busiest airports in one of the top aerospace capitals of the world. Our aircraft design is being developed by a collaborative, cross-border team of talented engineers, many of whom are based right here at our growing hub in Montréal,” said Kyle Clark, Beta’s founder and CEO “ Quebec’s focus on sustainability and carbon neutrality matches ours at Beta, and we are grateful for the support of our partners in the region, like ICAO, AéroMontréal, the airport, and the delegation.”

Prior to this first international flight, Beta has flown its prototype aircraft more than 22,000 nm during the past three years, including flights halfway across the U.S. The company used its own charging infrastructure for the flights, which included test pilots from the FAA and the U.S. military.

The company said it is moving quickly toward FAA certification of its eCTOL and eVTOL aircraft designs.

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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