Blade Urban Air Mobility is purchasing up to 20 BETA Technologies’ ALIA electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft marking BETA’s first passenger service customer, according to an April 13 release.
“Blade is laser-focused on its transition from conventional rotorcraft to electric vertical aircraft,” Blade founder and CEO Rob Wiesenthal said in a statement. “The ALIA’s extremely low sound footprint coupled with its zero-emissions design will enable us to reduce the noise and environmental impact to the communities surrounding the existing heliport and airport infrastructure we currently use.”
Last week BETA announced an agreement with UPS in a deal that could total up to 150 aircraft as well as charging stations.
“Blade is flying people in and out of cities every day, and we’re excited to partner together with the leader in UAM to create a new paradigm in passenger aviation,” Kyle Clark, BETA’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “BETA is a pragmatic company building pragmatic aircraft. It’s clear that the simplicity of our approach, strength of our technology, consistent progress against our timelines as well as the expertise of our team resonates with the best operators in the world. We are extremely excited to partner with Blade and serve the passenger mission”
BETA’s ALIA eVTOL aircraft will have a range of 250 nautical miles with a cruising speed of 170 miles per hour, according to the release. According to the company’s website, the aircraft uses a distributed direct-drive electric propulsion system and has zero operating emissions. It has a wingspan of 50 feet and a 1,400-pound cargo capacity.
Deliveries of BETA’s ALIA to Blade are scheduled to begin in late 2024.
“ALIA is a full-scale EVA flying in piloted configuration almost every day,” Wiesenthal said. “The team’s progress is formidable. BETA’s scheduled delivery beginning in 2024 is ahead of our current projected deployment of EVA in 2025. The transaction, consistent with our asset-light operating model, allows Blade to leverage our significant flight volumes and third-party financing relationships to support the purchase of BETA aircraft by our operator partners.”
BETA’s other partners include United Therapeutics and the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime program, according to the release.
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