Business aviation services group Atlantic Aviation has started installing electric charging stations at its FBOs through a partnership with aircraft manufacturer Beta Technologies. The first charger has been installed at Atlantic’s facility at Elmira Regional Airport in upstate New York, and the partners announced on Tuesday they will also install the equipment at Alabama’s Birmingham International Airport, Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport in Mississippi, and Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport in Massachusetts.
Beta, which is developing both eVTOL and fixed-wing versions of its Alia airplane, has designed its “technology agnostic” charging stations to work with multiple aircraft types, as well as electric ground vehicles. The Vermont-based company has now installed chargers at 17 locations across the U.S. and has another 55 sites in the permitting or construction process.
The existing Beta network of 320 kilowatt "charge cube" units extends south from Vermont to Arkansas and Florida. Installations include one at Eglin Air Force Base, where one of the Alia prototype aircraft has been deployed for several months as part of U.S. Air Force trials. Beta has conducted multiple extended flights across the U.S. to evaluate the practicalities of charging the Alia aircraft’s batteries between trips.
Charging Units Could Be Installed at FBOs Nationwide
Atlantic’s FBO network covers more than 100 locations across North America. Its “host site agreements” with Beta are intended to provide the infrastructure needed to support anticipated advanced air mobility services with electric aircraft to reduce operating costs of short flights and cut carbon emissions. The charging units have a 50-foot corded reel to give ground support crews greater flexibility when connecting the equipment to aircraft and other vehicles.
“As a premier FBO company, Atlantic Aviation has a strong pulse on the needs of the market and a long history of innovating to meet demand,” said Nate Ward, Beta’s head of charge network development. “Over the past several years, Beta has been focused on deploying a reliable, well-distributed network of fast chargers to enable the entire advanced air mobility industry, and we are aligned with the team at Atlantic on our mission.”
The announcement by Atlantic Aviation and Beta was made a day after rival eVTOL aircraft developer Joby said it is installing its interoperable charging equipment at Clay Lacy Aviation’s FBO at John Wayne Airport in Southern California. This is the first of a planned network of chargers to support anticipated eVTOL air taxi services across the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Archer Aviation, which is also developing eVTOL aircraft for services including air taxi flights, is also using Beta's charging technology. Last year, it installed a pair of the "charge cube" units at its Salinas test facility in California.