Bristow Orders ALIA-250 eVTOLs


Bristow group has placed a firm order with electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) developer BETA Technologies for five ALIA-250 eVTOL aircraft. The order also includes options for 50 additional ALIA aircraft. BETA says the ALIA-250 design, which completed its first interstate flight last year, will seat a pilot and five passengers, carry a 1,400-pound payload, have a range of 250 NM and offer a battery recharge time of under one hour.

“We designed ALIA with reliability, efficiency, and the highest-value cargo in mind, all of which are central to the types of critical missions Bristow carries out on a global stage,” said BETA founder and CEO Kyle Clark. “Over the past few months, we’ve made strides with our flight test program, proving the aircraft is capable of performing in conditions it will see in service. We are gratified by Bristow’s confidence in our continued progress, and we look forward to partnering to provide a safe and sustainable system to transform regional transportation.”

As previously reported by AVweb, Bristow has recently signed similar purchase agreements with eVTOL developers Lilium and Overair. Founded in 1948, Bristow Group provides helicopter transportation services to “oil and gas customers, search and rescue (SAR) and aircraft support solutions to government and civil organizations.” The company operates a fleet of around 240 aircraft with an area of service that includes the Americas, Africa, Europe and Australia.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Nice being able to sell something that does not even really exist.

    ‘N250BW’ in the photoshop pic above is a Cirrus.

    Fixed wing single engine
    (5 seats / 1 engine)

    • At least one actual prototype IS flying, however. And is not the first vehicle the company has flown.
      Yet to be proven to achieve, however.

      • I think the prototype has flown as a normal airplane – i.e. a running takeoff using only its pusher prop – but may not have flown yet using the VTOL capability. I fly out of BTV where Beta is located, and the company is BIG news throughout the state of Vermont.

    • Hey YARS, long time no hear! I was beginning to wonder if you had flown West! 😉 I always enjoy your succinct comments and engineering views of the aviation news.

  2. I think I sketched something like this when I was 8, before I learned about physics, mechanics, and economics. These Rube Goldbergs don’t fly, they are repulsed by the ground for their ugliness. They operate primarily on hot air, gullible investors and government largess. DOA

  3. They cobbled together disparate systems, materials, structures and flight controls. Well done.
    Now get it certified for over water commercial service. I think the current process of engineering testing and reliability assesment on a completely new airframe/powerplant design for commercial service will take about a decade.

  4. “ALIA-250 design, will seat a pilot and five passengers, carry a 1,400-pound payload, have a range of 250 NM and offer a battery recharge time of under one hour.”

    The Eurocopter AS350 AStar has better useful load (+2200 lbs.) and carries 6 passengers at +125 Knots over 300 NM. Takes about ten minutes to fuel. One other small difference…. The AStar actually is certified and has been in operation for years. Somebody should tell The Bristow Group. The quick return-on-the-dollar (ROI) will benefit their investors and prevent future lawsuits.

    • According to Bristow’s website, they already operate AS350 B2 A-Stars. Maybe their interest in this thing is a hedge against govt manipulation of petro fuel costs and availability.

  5. Jeez, those guys at Bristow are so dumb! No one wants a cleaner, quieter, smoother, safer, cheaper to operate replacement for helicopters. Just like electric cars, they’ll never take off.

    • Cleaner:

      Remains to be proven. Mining and disposing of batteries is a dirty business. Also, Even if it is cleaner, I’m not sure that matters or is important.


      The noise of a propeller driven aircraft is primarily from the blades not the powerplant. Also these drone like devices are more likely to make an ear splitting shrill scream.


      Unlikely to be so against decades proven technology. Especially as it applies to turbines.


      Depends on the cost of the replacement batteries, which will be frequent. Teslas and other EV’s are effectively mechanically totaled when the batteries wear out because it’s not cost effective to replace on a depreciated vehicle.

      • As regards the Quieter comment, I saw one of these contraptions (I don’t remember which hope and dreams company it was) fly at Oshkosh on the day before Osh started, we were there and saw it run a practice flight. I was stunned how quiet it was. As in stopped in my tracks stunned. What sound I could hear was a low pitch, low db, not displeasing or annoying sound at all. Very unlike a drones annoying whine. I went from a non-believer to a believer when I heard it. After the inevitable false starts, these things will be accepted in places like New York and LA. The sound is better to the ear than the sound of car tires on the highway. Our family just got into e-bikes. I’m hoping on greenways and riding to the next town over, 20 miles away. Grabbing lunch, and riding back. And I have 80% battery left. Things are changing.

  6. Electric cars are selling because of governments forcing them on the car-buying public and government grants, tax incentives etc. Then they drive up the price of gas to make them look more attractive.

    Teslas still look like half melted suppositories but that’s a different topic.

    I looked at the company website and at the bios of some of the people who work there.

    For the most part look like good people with good intentions and many with good educations and experiences. Reading between the lines many seem idealistic and liberal but otherwise have the makeup of workers with successful futures.

    I think they are barking up the wrong tree with this contraption and that battery powered electric flight is not going to be widely successful and the premise of AGW is a farce but otherwise I think I would like them and wish them successes at their next job.

  7. Yep. I told Orville, and I told Wilbur, and I’m tellin’ you – that thing will never get off the ground.

    Given the history of aviation and its evolution, it surprises me how many pilots don’t recognize the parallels in the evolution of electric vehicles. Just because AGW is a farce (and it is indeed an egregious farce), that doesn’t mean EVs won’t evolve into useful transportation. Hydrogen storage and battery technology are both getting close to practical commercialization. Here is a video of the latest engine-out unplanned descent on youtube (from yesterday). The two guys on board were lucky to get out without serious injury.

    The safety afforded by the redundancy possible with an electric powertrain means the only single point of failure is the prop and the shaft it’s connected to. We don’t still contend with the rotary engine and challenging handling of the Sopwith Camel, and there’s really no reason to think human ingenuity won’t overcome EV’s current deficits.

    • “…there’s really no reason to think human ingenuity won’t overcome EV’s current deficits.”
      Hope does spring eternal.
      Old YARSism: “RELYING upon future breakthroughs is engineering malpractice.”

    • “Given the history of aviation and its evolution, it surprises me how many pilots don’t recognize the parallels ”

      The history of aviation history is littered with more failures than sucesses. Think of Sam Langley and a steam powered attempt. Just because you have government backing and a lot of smart people does not mean that the Potomac river is impressed.

  8. I agree to a great extent, Jack.

    I don’t think that EV’s are a dead end but that the battery is a dead end for aviation applications.

    A car can cope with the severe weight penalty of an 1,100 pound battery but an airplane cannot.

    If electric aviation is to be pursued I think HFC is a better way to provide energy.

    I’d like to not have to deal with the issues and expenses that come from flying behind the Lycoming and Continental that power the Maule and Bonanza I fly, but reality is what it is.

    PLUS a Sopwith Camel is 100% cooler than any EV. Not necessarily better but cooler 🙂

  9. Would be interesting to read the fine print provisions of these so-called “firm” orders you see touted across the E-VTOL world.

    • Will it work? Yea, of course, to some extent.
      Will it be “better”? Like respect, that will have to be earned.

    • That’s exactly what I thought. You can bet the buyer had some input on the terms. Since Bristow reportedly have hedged with similar agreements with Lilium and Overair, they likely have protected their investment. Bristow has been around a while and I doubt if their VP of ESG signs off on purchases.

    • Alas, someone has addressed one of my long-standing concerns in E Aviation! Although I have not personally seen a lithium pack erupt, YouTube is littered with security cam videos showing that occurrence. If it happens while driving, you MAY have a handful of seconds to brake and exit the vehicle. In an aircraft, you are toast ( pun intended). Until a breakthrough in battery technology happens, this and articles similar belong on the pages of Popular Science ( I know, What’s that?).

  10. I wonder what it would have been like if the internet existed around the early 1900s when the Wright Brothers first took flight. We tend to forget that aviation has over a century of evolution behind it to produce the jets and helicopters we use today. Electric flight has barely a decade of progress so far. Yes, the history of flight is littered with startups and failures. Electric, or specifically EVTOL, aircraft will be no different. But it will eventually succeed, likely taking much longer than people hope. If nothing else, the FAA will see to that. Being a chemical engineer, I understand the limitations of elements in the periodic table to produce batteries with the energy density of fossil fuels. Sadly, I feel that it will take a major breakthrough in energy storage before electric flight is truly practical. And that breakthrough will likely not involve chemical batteries as we know them today. Still, I enjoy reading about the various “vapor ware” ideas people are trying to build, since somewhere there might be a diamond among the chaff. Break out the popcorn and stay tuned…