BETA Technologies, a Vermont-based aerospace manufacturer, has completed the first New York City test flight of its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxi. The firm aims to have its air taxi in commercial use by 2026, with partner brand Blade Air Mobility handling passenger bookings.

Blade Air Mobility currently offers short-haul helicopter rides for wealthy clientele looking to save time by avoiding traffic. In three years the company aims to start using BETA's eVTOL aircraft in New York.

BETA Technologies currently employs around 300 people and has raised over $800 million since it was founded in 2017. Two versions of its ALIA-250 EVA eVTOL aircraft exist, one for cargo and one for passengers. The passenger version will have room for six (including the pilot) and will cost approximately $4 million. Both versions are capable of traveling at speeds of up to 170 mph.

The ALIA-250 EVA has a range of 250 nautical miles and can recharge in as little as 50 minutes. Being fully electric, the ALIA-250 EVA makes around one-tenth as much noise as a traditional helicopter. 

Testing was conducted last week at Westchester county airport in White Plains, NY. BETA already has multiple fully functioning ALIA-250 EVA prototypes, several of which have completed journeys of over 200 miles.

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