Arctic Bird-Inspired Long-Range eVTOL for Cargo Operations Starts U.S. Army Testing

The Alia 250 evtol was inspired by the Arctic tern 9 photos
Photo: Beta Technologies
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The U.S. Air Force’s AFWERKS Agility Prime program has proven its important role in supporting the development of advanced air mobility aircraft, set to completely transform both the commercial and military aerospace sector. One of the latest eVTOLs (electric vertical take-off and landing) to be recognized and backed by the U.S. Army is Beta Technologies’ Alia 250.
The Beta Technologies team has a serious background in logistics and technology, and its board of directors includes Will Roper, the former U.S. assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics, who was at the forefront of the Agility Prime program. This innovative project has demonstrated the U.S. Air Force’s commitment to sustainability and electric aviation for various purposes.

After a previous contract with the Air Force, Beta Technologies has recently secured a new contract with the U.S. Army, that’s looking to use the Alia 250 eVTOL as a sustainable solution for cargo and logistics. According to Future Flight, Army engineers will be involved in future flight tests in order to evaluate the aircraft’s range, altitude, payload, and endurance limits.

Alia’s design was inspired by a bird, the Arctic tern, known for its outstanding ability to migrate further than any other bird, close to almost every continent. With a 50-foot (15 meters) wingspan and boasting a 250-nautical mile (287 miles, 463 km) range, Alia is meant to perform long-range flights carrying either passengers or cargo with zero emissions. It’s equipped with air-cooled motors that were designed and developed in-house, claiming to offer high torque density and redundancy.

The Alia 250 has already conducted several successful flights between the company’s headquarters at the Burlington International Airport in Vermont, and Plattsburg, in New York, the longest one adding up to 205 miles (329 km).

What’s unique about this eVTOL manufacturer is that it has also developed a series of charging solutions, including a Rapid Charging System that can be used for land-based electric vehicles as well. It can operate at airports, or as part of a Charge Pad, for off-airport operations, and it can also integrate with on-site solar power systems.

While the U.S. Army will be testing its capabilities for future logistics missions, the Alia 250 is also aiming for type certification by 2024. Commercial partners, such as UPS, have already agreed to add this eVTOL to their fleets in the future.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
Otilia Drăgan profile photo

Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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