It’s automatic, a reflex action. Often when talking about electric aviation one thinks almost mechanically of the ships of companies like Kitty Hawk, or AutoFlight, focused on urban mobility, in more or less short distances. They are fast, much more spectacular and, of course, they move through the air; but deep down they are still a kind of flying taxis.
What if we changed the focus and used electric planes to longest radius trips, similar to those of the airplanes to use? For some time now there are companies that have their sights set on this potential business niche and seek to expand a sector that is still in its infancy. At the end of 2021 Wright Electric, for example, presented a concept of an electric plane with a hundred seats with which it aspires to eliminate polluting emissions on routes of less than 1,300 kilometers.
In that same race the company Beta Technologies You have just taken a significant step. as detailed Popular Science, the company, based in Vermont (United States), has completed a journey of 2,258 kilometers between New York and Arkansas, more or less the distance between Figueres, in Catalonia, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The mission lasted a total of eight days, during which time the aircraft was in the air for around 12 hours.
The key: the charging network
How do i do it? Thanks to your own aircraft, Aliaand the support of a dense network of charging stations that allowed it to overcome one of the great handicaps of electric aircraft, autonomy.
The company has 60 seats already underway or planned that are divided between Indiana, Nueva León and Vermont. “Designed to be multimodal, our chargers provide the energy needed to safely, quickly and efficiently charge electric vehicles both on the ground and in the air, integrating with existing transportation infrastructure in any environment,” he notes.
Alia took off on May 23 from Plattsburgh International Airport, in eastern New York, and landed the following Monday, the 30th, at its destination in Bentonville, Arkansas. In between he made seven stops. The test was completed by two pilots who took turns along the journey and were sandwiched between Alia and a model aircraft. Cessna Caravan who accompanied him on the journey.
As for the aircraft, Alia-250 is an electric plane with a wingspan of 15.2 meters and a maximum takeoff weight of 3,174 kilos. Its recharge time is 50 minutes and its range is 250 nautical miles. The company has designed a version for passengers and another for goods.
“I think that with this type of flight, at a very high level, we change the image of what electric aviation is. It is not an airplane that moves in a city; these are not test flights around a range, without a crew. It’s about you put a couple of pilots on it and some cargo and you go halfway across the country.” notes Kyle ClarkCEO of Beta, the Popular Science. His goal: to demonstrate that electric aircraft can offer service beyond the local sphere, of small trips.
“Es a big step which shows that having an electric aircraft that can travel long distances, not just short hops, is a viable future.” Emma Davis agrees in Flying Magazine.
Images | Beta Technologies