Beta Technologies Opens Electric-Aircraft Assembly Plant in Vermont

Aerospace company says the facility will be capable of building 300 aircraft per year.

Beta Technologies plans to build its Alia eVTOL aircraft at its newly opened pant.. [Courtesy: Beta Technologies]

Electric aerospace company/aircraft developer Beta Technologies on Monday opened a new factory at the Burlington International Airport (KBTV) in Vermont, for large-scale production of its all-electric aircraft, the Alia eCTOL and eVTOL.

The company said it has begun installing the assembly tooling and production line systems, marking “a significant milestone along [Beta’s] path to delivering its electric aircraft to military and commercial customers.

The production facility, which covers 188,500 square feet, is expected to result in the creation of hundreds of jobs as Beta ramps up to a maximum production rate of 300 aircraft annually. The facility is located on a 40-acre site with the potential to double its size if necessary.

“The team here at [Beta] is excited to enter the next phase of our growing electric aerospace business,” said Kyle Clark, CEO and founder of Beta. “We have worked through research, engineering, prototyping, test flying, initial phases of certification, and now we are entering our next important step of starting production in an inspiring facility. The internal [Beta] team along with many awesome local contractors, tradespeople, and civil servants have challenged each other to create a beautiful, sustainable, and functional building for producing the future of aviation. We are incredibly thankful to this community.”

Thus far, Beta has flown more than 500 piloted flights on its own in-house-built battery systems and conducted more than 10,000 hours of testing on electric motors produced on its pilot production lines, the company said. Because of partnerships with many of its main suppliers, according to Beta, the company has conducted most of its test flights, totaling 26,000 miles, using the same supplier parts and systems to be implemented on its production aircraft.

The company also said it will use a Garmin avionics suite for its integrated flight deck. Beta said it has collaborated with Garmin to tailor its standard commercial products to its IFR-capable aircraft. The company has also partnered with numerous other aerospace suppliers for key systems and materials, including lithium-ion battery cells, propellers, and exterior lighting. Some of those suppliers have provided systems installed in the company’s test aircraft and simulators.

Beta also noted that Monday’s opening adds to its other operations in Vermont, including its R&D headquarters and a maintenance and training hangar in South Burlington, pilot manufacturing facilities in Williston, and a battery research center in St. Albans.

“The opening of the production facility is incredibly good news for Vermont and another huge step forward for Beta,” said former Vermont U.S. senator Patrick Leahy. “I’m thrilled for Kyle and the whole team at Beta to see their hard work pay off, and I’m excited to continue to watch them thrive, innovate, and grow in the Green Mountain State.”

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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