First airworthiness approval granted for the human flight program in an electric aircraft

With this airworthiness, the Air Force will have access to the first-of-its-kind, first-of-its-kind, 7,000-pound-class electric aircraft, and the first-of-its-kind eVTOL immersive simulators located in Washington, DC and Springfield, Ohio.

“This agreement will enable Air Force procurement professionals to make data-informed decisions informed by real assessments of military utility,” said Col. Nathan Diller, AFWERX director .

BETA’s aircraft simulation and training facilities enable air force pilots and engineers to experience the future of electric vertical flight by repeating and testing the ALIA aircraft in a variety of mission sets and potential scenarios. The advanced urban air mobility technology simulator located near the Air Force Research Laboratory in Springfield provides easy access to the Air Force’s leading technical and acquisition professionals. The Washington, DC facility provides an ideal location for future developers of Air Force, Joint Force and Interagency operational concepts to conduct research and assess opportunities for the electrified future. These state-of-the-art simulators are physics-based and include weather, emergency management and mission scenarios with multiple aircraft.

Agility Prime seeks to broaden technology transition pathways to accelerate emerging dual-use markets by leveraging government resources for rapid and affordable commissioning. In a one-of-a-kind arrangement, AFRL engineers used unique equipment and analytical capabilities to perform structural tests on the ALIA aircraft. This data will help advance the flight test program safely while providing valuable information to the Air Force on a unique and innovative aircraft design.

“Agility Prime is about creating a new path for adopting cutting-edge technologies within the Department of Defense by working with innovative companies like BETA to open up new markets,” Diller said. “Air Force Materiel Command’s engineering, testing and procurement professionals have phenomenal expertise to help accelerate this and other emerging markets.”

In March, BETA moved to the next phase of its flight test program, completing an interstate flight with ALIA from its test facility at the home airport in Plattsburgh, New York, to corporate headquarters near Burlington International Airport in Vermont. In order to comply with Federal Aviation Agency protocols regarding the flight of experimental aircraft beyond designated test areas, BETA has performed rigorous testing to ensure reliable and predictable aircraft performance. In the same week that ALIA made its first interstate flight, BETA also set a new range and altitude record at ALIA of 130 nautical miles and 8,000 feet, respectively.

ALIA made its first interstate flight, and BETA set a new ALIA range and altitude record of 130 nautical miles and 8,000 feet, respectively. COURTESY PHOTO / BETA TECHNOLOGIES

BETA has added to its growing customer list by entering into agreements with BLADE and UPS for its ALIA planes and charging stations. BETA partners now cover the medical, logistics, defense and passenger segments. About AFRL

The Air Force Research Laboratory is the main scientific research and development center of the Air Force Department. AFRL plays a vital role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable combat technologies for our air, space and cyberspace.

With a workforce of over 11,000 people in nine technology fields and 40 other operations around the world, AFRL offers a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from basic research to advanced research and technological development. For more information visit: About AFWERX

AFWERX, a program office at AFRL, connects innovators from government, industry and academia. Through innovation and collaboration with the best subject matter experts in our country and harnessing the power of ingenuity of in-house talent, developing technology, talent and transition partnerships for a capacity fast and affordable commercial and military. In 2020, Fast Company ranked AFWERX # 16 best workplaces for innovators, alongside brands like Microsoft, Google and Amazon.

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