Beta Technologies has announced it plans to develop, certify and produce the CX300, a dedicated electric conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) version of its electric-powered Alia-250 vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The company has been flying two test aircraft; one with vertical takeoff capability and one without a working rotor system required for the urban-air mobility mission. The latter recently completed demonstration flights from New York’s Westchester County Airport (HPN).
According to Beta, “eVTOLs spend more than 98 percent of flights in wingborne cruise,” so it makes sense to certify and market a non-eVTOL version of the aircraft. Both eCTOL and eVTOL versions will share a common airframe, batteries, motors and systems. The CX300 would have the performance advantages of lighter weight, less drag and fewer parts and systems, making production less costly (Beta told AVweb it does not discuss pricing information at this time). And the certification process for a fixed-wing-only aircraft under Part 23 will be less complex and costly than that involved with the eVTOL Alia-250.
“New and existing customers have placed orders for the eCTOL aircraft, including United Therapeutics, Bristow, and Air New Zealand,” according to Beta. Company founder and CEO Kyle Clark said, “We have been flying our eCTOL prototype airport-to-airport for a few years now to drive technological advancements in propulsion and systems, and now we’re seeing that there is a clear market for this product in addition to our eVTOL aircraft. Global operators are looking for practical solutions to help meet their sustainability commitments, and after seeing the cost and performance of this prototype, our customers are eager to integrate it into their fleet. With its known certification and operational path, this aircraft represents an opportunity to get electric aviation into the market, and into the hands of our customers, as quickly as possible.”