Beta Technologies has opened a manufacturing facility in Burlington, Vermont, where it will build its electric aircraft. The company expects to have the capacity to assemble 300 aircraft each year in a 188,500-sq-ft facility that it says has been designed to operate with net zero carbon emissions.
The factory, which was officially inaugurated today in the presence of local elected officials, is part of a 40-acre site at Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport, with space already allocated to expand production capacity at a later date. Beta is developing both the Alia 250 eVTOL model and the conventional takeoff and landing CX300 version, with target dates for type certification of 2026 and 2025 respectively. It has provisional sales commitments from multiple prospective operators, including helicopter group Bristow and express freight distributor UPS.
The Beta team has been progressively preparing for manufacturing readiness by establishing a pilot production line for the systems it is producing in-house, including battery packs, electric motors, and inverters. It has been working with FAA officials to certify its quality management systems and manufacturing processes.
To date, Beta has conducted more than 500 piloted flights with full-scale prototypes, logging more than 10,000 flight hours with its own batteries and motors. Last week, it flew a CX300 aircraft from Vermont across the Canadian border to Montreal, and it has previously conducted extensive multi-leg trips across the U.S. to evaluate both the aircraft’s performance and its planned network of electric charging stations.
As part of the commitment to net zero objectives, the new production facility is equipped with 260 geothermal wells to provide energy for temperature control within the building, as well as nearly three acres of roof-mounted solar panels. A structural sub-base that supports concrete foundations is made from a glass aggregate consisting of 99 percent recycled glass and 1 percent binder, replacing nearly 100,000 cu ft of styrofoam insulation.
At various stages of the assembly process, aircraft will move along a production line with floor-to-ceiling windows and a quarter-acre skylight providing natural light to complement adjustable electric lights at all times of the day. For Beta employees, there are common areas with large windows throughout the building.
Beta Technologies is working with a diverse group of industry partners to build its new aircraft. These include leading aviation suppliers such as avionics manufacturer Garmin and composite materials specialist Solvay. Advanced Integration Technology is Beta’s industrialization partner, while Sensata Technologies is contributing sensors and high-voltage electrical protection, and Volz Servos is providing actuators.
By contrast with other leading eVTOL aircraft developers based in California, Beta is concentrating most of its activities in its home state of Vermont, with a maintenance and training hangar in South Burlington, pilot manufacturing facilities in Williston, and an advanced battery research center in St Albans. The company also has locations in nearby Plattsburgh, New York; Washington, D.C.; Montreal; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Springfield, Ohio.
During an opening ceremony on October 2, Beta founder and CEO Kyle Clark praised local state and city officials for their commitment to decarbonization. He pointed out that when Beta’s electric aircraft recharge in Burlington they are able to do so using the 100 percent net zero carbon local power grid. The event also heard speeches by Vermont politicians, including U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, former Senator Patrick Leahy, and Governor Phil Scott.