Blade, the technology-powered transportation service, tested its first electric vehicle takeoff and landing of BETA Technologies ALIA-250 (eVTOL) aircraft in White Plains last week.
The BETA Technologies ALIA-250 (eVTOL) aircraft, also known as an electric vertical takeoff landing aircraft, is known for its nearly silent flight. The aircraft can take off and land like a helicopter – with lift rotators on the wings – but it cruises like an airplane, according to Brandon Keene, chief technology officer of Blade. Keene also notes the ALIA-250 can gain a full charge in 50 minutes and works on “zero emissions.”
Helicopter noise has been a sticking point for the Stop The Chop Coalition, a nonprofit grassroots organization formed to ban the nonessential (tourist and commuter) helicopters over the NYC metro area while also supporting a ban of fossil-fuel based helicopters.
“With regard to the new electric helicopters tested by Blade, we were not invited to view the recent test flight in Westchester; therefore, we cannot comment on their acoustics (plus the public video did not include sound),” said Stop The Chop Board Chair Melissa Elstein. “We do hope that electric helicopters will be quiet, safe, non-polluting, and powered by clean, renewable energy. Additionally, until they are approved by the FAA and other government agencies, we will continue to urge for a ban of the fossil-fuel based choppers.”
Green Stock News reports the ALIA-250 noise profile is one-tenth that of a conventional helicopter, adding that Blade is “committed” to buying up to twenty ALIA-250s, which it will use at its Blade terminals.
Blade CEO Rob Wiesenthal described the test flight demonstration as “a big milestone in our transition from helicopters to electric vertical aircraft, and we are pleased that our partners at BETA have designed the right aircraft with the requisite range, capacity, and noise profile, for use in our key markets, including our home base of New York City.”
BETA says the aircraft can carry upwards of five passengers with one pilot for 288 miles until the ALIA-250 needs a charge.