AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Electricity could play a key role in air travel. Earlier this year, BETA Technologies installed Georgia’s first electric airplane charger at the Augusta Regional Airport.
This morning, BETA made another visit to the Garden City.
BETA stopped over at the Augusta Regional Airport to charge its all-electric ALIA aircraft. They’re calling it the ‘first step towards a sustainable aviation of the future’.
“Flying the aircraft today shows that this technology is real, this technology is here, we’re progressing forward with our battery technology,” said Emma Davis, a flight test engineer with BETA Technologies. “Which ultimately should be more environmentally sustainable in the future.”
The new plane arrived from BETA’s headquarters in Vermont and it’s on the way to Florida. Leaders at Augusta Regional say this visit is part of their commitment to new technologies and greener efforts.
“This is the first electric aircraft that has landed in the state of Georgia and is flying around,” said Diane Johnston, director of Innovation and Development at the Augusta Regional Airport. “BETA has been a tremendous partner for us, as well as G-DOT and some of the other groups that we’ve been working with.”
The aircraft is quick-charging, more quiet and nearly three times more efficient than fuel-powered jets. A new prototype is also in the works, which will incorporate vertical takeoff and landing.
“So that opens up accessibility to remote locations, right?” said Davis. “If you’re able to land in confined spaces, that really opens up the network- we could go from a conventional airport like this to a more rural location.”
BETA is first looking to use the aircrafts for cargo and medical organ transportation. Once they have safe flight hours in those areas, they plan to move into passenger transport.
“And it will be able to be at a price point that most people could afford,” said Johnston. “As opposed to when you get those shorter flights in a jet, it can be pretty pricey with those short flights because that’s when it uses up the most fuel and everything. So this is going to have a tremendous impact in the aviation industry.”