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Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.
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Beta Technologies
Aircraft

Beta Alia-250

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Beta Tech opens Montréal engineering hub
The Montréal facility will support development of Beta’s production electric aircraft, and becomes the latest site for its growing team of more than 450 employees.
Beta's engineering hub in Montréal.
Read this story in our April 2023 printed issue.

US-based electric aerospace company Beta Technologies is expanding internationally with the opening of an engineering hub in Montréal, Canada. This office will focus on structural engineering and materials processing, playing an integral role in the ongoing development and certification of Beta's all-electric Alia aircraft.

Beta opens this new location with over 50 Montréal-based employees and plans to significantly increase the team by year end as it advances toward certification. The team will primarily work on advanced design, flight-sciences, flight controls and data-science to support the design, certification and manufacturing of the Alia's structure. A leader in the global market, the Canadian aerospace industry employed nearly 200,000 skilled professionals in 2021 and contributed more than $24 billion to the country's overall GDP. With the addition of this new hub, Beta has created an electrified corridor, establishing core operations and drawing from industry-leading talent pools in Vermont, New York and Québec. The company also has footprints in Washington, DC and Springfield, Ohio.

“With its deep aerospace engineering pedigree, Montréal has always been part of Beta's long-term plan,” says founder and CEO Kyle Clark. “Electrifying aviation is a big and important problem to solve, and it's going to take a lot of really smart people to get there. We have already added a highly skilled team to our ranks in Montréal, and we look forward to continuing to tap into the wealth of experience and talent in the region as we grow.”

“Montréal's reputation in the global aerospace ecosystem and unique access to between technical colleges, universities, SMEs and OEMs makes it an easy choice for Beta's expansion,” adds aerostructures engineering lead Jean Sébastien Leclerc. “Our team members are excited to bring their experiences from recent OEM certification programmes to this future-focused aviation technology. Our connection to green energies and passion for aviation marries well into Beta's mission to turn the corner on climate change.”

The engineering hub is supported by Montréal International, greater Montréal's economic development agency. “Greater Montréal has been a key player in the aerospace industry since its inception in the 1940s. Prominent projects such as Beta's contribute to our local ecosystem and its work to decarbonise the industry,” says vice president of foreign investments Alexandre Lagarde.

Beta is developing a fully integrated electric aviation system. At the heart of that system is the Alia, its net zero emission, all-electric aircraft designed to enable short haul and regional operations for the company's diverse customer base. Over the past three years, the company has demonstrated reliably strong performance with its two prototype aircraft, accomplishing significant milestones toward certification and commercialisation.

In June 2022, Beta flew its prototype 2,000 nm from Plattsburgh, New York to Bentonville, Arkansas and back, stopping along the way to recharge on the electric charging infrastructure the company is building out in parallel with its aircraft. Late last year, Beta repeated the cross-country trip, flying 1,300 nm from Plattsburgh to Louisville, Kentucky and back, again utilising its own charging network to power up. The company also had test pilots from the US Air Force and Army fly the Alia in full-pattern demos in March 2022 and July 2022 respectively, marking the branches' first-ever flight of an electric aircraft and the industry's first manned qualitative evaluations. Beta also partnered with the FAA and the National Institute for Aviation Research to conduct a 50 ft drop test of a full-scale battery pack, successfully completing the test and advancing the industry's path to safety standards and certification.

Beta's passionate team has grown rapidly, surpassing 450 team members, with plans to continue expanding as the company progresses toward production and commercialisation. The team brings deep passion, collective experience and a wide range of skill sets from some of the world's leading aerospace, transportation and technology organisations, including the FAA, Honeywell, Tesla, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce, Boeing, Bombardier and Bell Helicopter.

The company takes a hands on, multi-disciplinary approach to solving design challenges and driving innovation; in fact, every Beta employee is encouraged to become a licensed pilot and fly the company's versatile fleet to gain first hand insight into aircraft design, performance and operational considerations.

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