New eVTOL design from Vermont


Vermont-based start-up Beta Technologies has developed and flown a prototype eVTOL with a light-aircraft-style cabin.

The aircraft, named Ava,started life as a Part 103 ultra-light aircraft which, in the development process,  transitioned into an eVTOL which has now been disclosed publicly.

When looking at the design, Ava’s cabin sets it apart from many other eVTOL designs.

The Beta Technologies team is headed up by entrepreneur, test-pilot and engineer Kyle Clark. Whilst not much has been disclosed about the aircraft, he has already secured a launch customer and funding through a partnership with the NASDAQ-listed biotechnology company United Therapeutics Corporation.

In an interview with The Drive, Mr Clark said the eVTOL is designed to transport organs quickly and safely across the country. As Ava is a prototype the design is by no means finalised and the commercial version is likely to be very different to the prototype.

Despite its careful control of information, the manufacturer has been busy. So far, the prototype has taken more than 170 test flights and expects to conduct a cross-country flight in spring/summer 2019.

Early specifications of the aircraft show a top speed of 170 mph and a range of 150 miles The eight rotors are powered by two on-board batteries.

Footage of the aircraft taking a runway take-off and a short interview with Mr Clark has been uploaded to YouTube. In the video, Clark says: “The goal of this aircraft was to elicit critical thinking about electric aviation. And the best way to do this was to build something. We partnered with United Therapeutics to design this aircraft and attempt to fly it across the country.

This will expose all of the hard problems associated with eVTOL, from designing the aircraft, to getting the licence to fly it all the way to the regulatory challenges.”

Beta Technologies is also creating a recharging dock for the Ava – a landing pad that will recharge the aircraft.