BETA Technologies has just opened its large-scale electric aircraft manufacturing facility near Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport in Vermont. The site is planned to produce up to 300 aircraft per year by 2027.
The 188,500-square-foot electric aircraft factory is expected to create hundreds of jobs, as BETA ramps up to full production rate in the cargo, medical, defense and passenger industries. One of the company’s earliest customers was UPS, which ordered 10 of the Alia aircraft in 2021 and reserved the right to order another 140.
- UPS and BETA Technologies to test UAE electric flight deliveries
- Joby to Build eVTOL Manufacturing Facility in Dayton, Ohio
Not only will the site churn out sustainable battery-powered aircraft, but the facility itself is constructed with a green, carbon-neutral design at the forefront. Built with 260 geothermal wells to provide energy for temperature control, along with nearly three acres of roof-mounted solar panels, the campus is claimed to achieve net-zero emissions. At the opening ceremony, Sen. Bernie Sanders touted BETA’s ability to foster a culture that focuses on combating climate change.
To date, Beta said it has flown more than 500 full-scale, piloted flights on Beta-built battery systems and conducted more than 10,000 hours of testing on electric motors produced on its pilot production lines.
Meanwhile, BETA also just announced appointment of Solvay as a primary composite material supplier; in addition to lightweight structures, Solvay will also provide qualification support and advanced materials for the production of BETA’s ALIA CTOL, electric fixed-wing aircraft, and ALIA VTOL, electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.
Solvay and BETA are collaborating to select and qualify a tailored suite of materials from Solvay’s broad portfolio to meet the rigorous performance and rate demands of the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) market. Composites and specialty polymers will be used for primary and secondary structures, as well as non-structural parts, combining multifunctional integration with high strength and low weight, as well as electromagnetic interference and lightning protection.
Why it’s important: The opening of a full-scale manufacturing facility signals the reality of electric aircraft and advanced air mobility, as well as the funding that is behind many of the OEMs such as BETA. Multiple companies, including Joby Aviation, are turning a corner in their aircraft development with announcements of production sites capable of large volumes.
Photos are credited to Burlington Free Press.