An electric airplane has just completed an eight day multi-city test flight of 2,257km. It is the furthest an electric airplane has traveled and the first that has flown across multiple states.
The company that designed the plane, an Alia-250C, is Beta, a new company in the future of environmentally-friendly aircraft. The Alia-250C has a single propeller, which is powered by twin electric engines. It has the ability to go up to 250 miles from just 50 minutes of charging.
There are currently several companies that are developing electric aircraft; due to the current limitations of rechargeable batteries they are mainly for local transport. CEO of Beta, Kyle Clark, wants to show that electric aircraft can also be used for longer journeys:
“I think that with this type of flight… we change the image of what electric aviation is,” he says. “It’s not an aircraft that’s hopping within a city… you put a couple pilots in it, you put some cargo in it, and you go halfway across the country.”
Beta have made two designs of the Alia-250C: a passenger craft which can hold 5 passengers plus a pilot, and a cargo-version, which can take 91 square meters of cargo.
The trip across the country
The test flight took place over eight days. It took off from New York and landed a total of 7 times to recharge. The plane made its final stop in Bentonvile, Arkansas, traveling a total of 2,257km. The flight legs ranged from about 255 to 340 kilometres, with an average flight time of around 88 minutes. In total the aircraft was in the air for nearly 12 hours.
Two pilots, Lochie Ferrier and Camron Guthrie, took turns flying the plane. Whilst one pilot flew the electric plane, the other flew behind in a Cessna Caravan, just to make sure all went as planned. Camron Guthrie said that their flight attracted plenty of onlookers: “People just came out to see the folks from Vermont and their spaceship”.
Clark said that the launching point for Alia is a focus on cargo and logistics flights of up to about 240km.
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