Beta Technologies, a startup company that has not yet disclosed the details of its innovative solutions, has presented the prototype of its Ava all-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Wired journalists spoke to the company CEO Kyle Clark during one of the aircraft tests.
Ava developers decided to combine the advantages of a light airplane and quadcopter in one aircraft. The aircraft is powered by eight electric engines with propellers located on special outriggers in two layers, one on top of the other. The aircraft has two pairs of rotors in the front side and two pairs of rotors in the tail part. The capacity of each motor is 143 horse powers. The rotors operate in computerized synchrony ensured by the on-board computer.
The wings spanning 10 meters are fixed in the central part of the aircraft. To move on the ground, the aircraft is equipped with three-point stilt-like landing gear. According to Kyle Clark, Ava is capable of speeds up to 300 km/h and can travel up to 250 km on a single battery charge. Two lithium-ion batteries with the total capacity of 124 kWh contribute heavily to the total weight of the aircraft with their 1.8 tons of weight.
Beta Technologies is expecting to find potential buyers among private aviation enthusiasts and logistics companies.
Ava test version has already made more than 70 flights. For this year, the company has planned a major testing program for the aircraft, during which it will fly 4,500 km over the United States. After each 100–160 km leg, the aircraft will be recharged from the bus turned into an electric charging station. The company CEO is planning to go on that journey himself.