Beta's eVTOL, Ava, combines the flight characteristics of a helicopter, drone and fixed-wing airplane with cockpit and control systems that revolutionize the pilot's interface. Beta has partnered with, and is funded by, United Therapeutics biotechnology company. The eVTOL is ultimately designed to carry organs from a manufacturing facility to hospitals.
Video // Eric Adams
Stage of Development
Aircraft Type: VTOL with fixed wing
Powerplant: All-electric. Beta is also creating a recharging dock for the Ava – a landing pad that will recharge the aircraft.
Range: 150 miles.
Top Speed: 170 mph.
Propeller Configuration: 4 pairs of counter-rotating rotors. A flight controller distributes electric propulsion power based on position and direction of each rotor.
Passenger/Payload Capacity: Single passenger technology demonstrator
Autonomy Level: Semi-autonomous with eventual full-autonomy capability
Dimensions: 34 ft wingspan
Flight controls: Hybrid flight control design - collective lever in the left hand that modulates the speed of the propellers and thrust, traditional foot pedals control the rudder and clockwise/counter-clockwise differential of the rotors, and right-hand sidestick for the mechanical flight control surfaces and the fly-by-wire controller for distributed propulsion.
Funding: Backed by biotechnology company, United Therapeutics.
Our Take on Beta
Beta Technologies is strategically located in Burlington, VT for easier access to the state's congressional delegation, the airport's leadership and, by extension, its Federal Aviation Administration staff - the company currently occupies a Horizon Air hangar at Burlington International Airport. While regulatory and certification hurdles are ahead for Beta's Ava, the relationships they have built will help them navigate that process. Beta made over 170 test flights in 2018, and was able to go from an initial concept to "wheels off the ground" in just 10 months, an impressive feat. The company is now also focusing on the 'Alia', a larger version of its aircraft.