Making it in Vermont: An electric helicopter that can get to Boston in an hour

Photo courtesy Beta Technologies
Beta’s prototype aircraft flying in Plattsburgh. The company is now developing a commercial aircraft at its hangar at the Burlington International Airport. The new craft, scheduled to fly in a year, has a different configuration but uses core technologies developed in the prototype, said company founder Kyle Clark.

By Anne Wallace Allen

For the first time in nearly 100 years, there’s a design revolution underway in air travel. Kyle Clark, an entrepreneur who has created an electric aircraft with a top speed of about 170 miles an hour, would like to lead the charge from his company in Burlington.

Clark’s company, Beta Technologies, has created a working prototype of a piloted electric aircraft that rises into the air like a helicopter and then flies like a passenger plane. Clark, who grew up in Huntington, intends to be the first aerospace engineer in the world to produce such a craft for commercial use.

Using homemade flight simulators, an array of 3D printers, a machine shop, and a team of nearly 40 staff and contracted engineers, Clark has big plans for his self-funded company, which occupies a hangar and other buildings at the Burlington airport. He intends to stand out for creating an aircraft with a power system that enables it to achieve the longest flight range amongst its peers.

“We’re going to develop the world’s longest-range, best-performing aircraft,” he said.

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