BAN's World GazetteerVermont
Beta Technologies has opened the doors to a large-scale production facility at the Patrick Leahy Burlington International airport in Vermont, where it will manufacture and assemble its all-electric aircraft. Production has begun with the installation of assembly tooling and the initiation of various system production lines, marking a significant milestone along Beta's path to delivering its all-electric Alia CTOL and Alia VTOL aircraft to military and commercial customers.
The 188,500sq ft production facility will ultimately be capable of producing up to 300 aircraft per year and is expected to create hundreds of jobs. Beta is planning for a steady ramp-up to maximum production rates and delivery to customers across cargo, medical, defence and passenger industries. The facility is located on a 40 acre site, with potential to support a significant expansion, doubling in size via a Phase II build-out.
“The team here at Beta is excited to enter the next phase of our growing electric aerospace business. We have worked through research, engineering, prototyping, test flying and initial phases of certification, and now we are entering our next important step of starting production in an inspiring facility,” says CEO Kyle Clark. “The internal Beta team, along with many awesome local contractors, tradespeople and civil servants, have challenged each other to create a beautiful, sustainable and functional building for producing the future of aviation. We are incredibly thankful to this community.”
The opening follows a methodical series of steps to ensure production readiness. The company has been refining pilot production line efficiency and flow for its internally developed technologies and systems, including battery packs, electric motors and inverters. It has also developed and is exercising its quality management systems and manufacturing process procedures and standards, and is working closely with the FAA to certify them.
To date, Beta has flown more than 500 full-scale, piloted flights on Beta-built battery systems and conducted more than 10,000 hours of testing on electric motors produced on its pilot production lines. In addition, ,it has long been partnering with many of its primary suppliers, meaning the bulk of its 26,000 test flight miles have been conducted with the same supplier parts and systems designated for the production aircraft.
The production facility is designed very intentionally to be sustainable. Three pillars informed the construction design strategy: sustainability, efficiency and people-first. It is equipped with 260 geothermal wells to provide energy for temperature control within the building and nearly three acres of roof-mounted solar panels. The structural sub-base supports concrete foundations and is made by a glass aggregate of 99 per cent recycled glass and one per cent binder, replacing nearly 100,000 cubic feet of styrofoam insulation.
The assembly line floor is optimised to move aircraft along the line in a safe, climate-controlled and logical manner. The floor to ceiling windows and a quarter acre skylight enable natural light throughout the facility, and tunable lighting systems offer a more natural working environment at all times of day. Common areas and large windows are strategically placed throughout the building, visually connecting the team to accelerate collaboration and teamwork.
“Beta has made great technical progress and has already achieved significant milestones, including flying both aircraft, conducting missions halfway across the country and conducting the industry's first military and FAA flights with the Alia CTOL, in its effort towards bringing a more sustainable aviation solution to the market,” says Phil Straub, Garmin executive vice president and managing director, aviation. "It's an honour to have our integrated flight deck chosen for the revolutionary Alia VTOL and Alia CTOL aircraft, and we are thrilled to be part of Beta's mission to grow the electric aviation market.”
Phillipp Volz, CEO of Volz Servos, adds: “We are immensely proud to be able to equip these aircrafts with our actuators, especially considering the challenges that eVTOLs still have to overcome today, first and foremost compliance with important safety standards. Being able to deliver unique, certifiable actuators that comply with both European and US aviation regulations is crucial for gaining a foothold in a market whose great potential is increasingly being recognised.”
“Beta's forward-thinking approach to sustainable aviation has led to new jobs, new community partnerships and investment in the Burlington area and all of Vermont. It's also encouraging to see the total transformation of a 40-acre brownfield from an unused stretch of land in need of redevelopment and cleanup to a green energy, net zero hub of economic and electric aviation activity,” says Senator Welch.