Three years ago, the Massachusetts state senator representing Cape Cod proposed a blanket $1,000 landing fee for all GA aircraft at every airport in the state. In contrast, last week, an aircraft showed up at Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC) that drew gushing praise from local press and multiple state officials—and was not charged a landing fee.

The author of the 2021 bill, Senator Julian Cyr, admitted to AVweb at the time that his proposal was ill-advised. But the turnaround attitude toward any form of GA three years later is a significant reversal. It certainly helps that the Beta Technologies “Alia” prototype that made its Cape Cod debut last week is a whisper-quiet, all-electric aircraft.

Jeffrey DeCarlo, Massachusetts Department of Transportation Aeronautics Administrator, said, “A quieter civilian electric aircraft that launches and lands like a helicopter yet flies with the speed and agility of a plane can create new opportunities to move people and cargo in a way that’s green, clean, and more efficient, cost-effective, equitable and versatile.” To clarify, the particular aircraft that touched down at Joint Base Cape Cod is Vermont-based Beta’s CTOL (conventional takeoff and landing) fixed-wing-only Alia prototype. It is not the VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) version of the Beta Technologies project.

But that didn’t cool the sizzle in the local press, sparking suggestions that welcoming electric aircraft represents an economic opportunity for the region, including potential military applications. For example, members of the Massachusetts Army and Air National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard, both based at JBCC, attended the event, which was arranged by the Air Force’s AFWERX (a tortured acronym for “Air Force Work Projects”) program and the U.S. Department of Defense.

JBCC Executive Director Brigadier General (ret.) Christopher Faux suggested future economic advantages, including potential employment opportunities, saying, “We see this as an opportunity not just for Joint Base Cape Cod, but for the entire region. Finding airfield partners helps reduce the cost of airfield operations for our military partners while simultaneously bringing the innovation associated with advanced air mobility to the Cape. At this point, I can only imagine, not quantify, the synergies of electric aircraft at civilian airports throughout the region working hand-in-hand with military aviation on JBCC.”

Administrator DeCarlo of the Massachusetts DoT added, “Developing military-use cases for advanced air mobility technologies, such as BETA’s electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, will create opportunities to improve civilian transportation in the commonwealth, across New England, and throughout the nation.”

The post Beta Technologies Alia CTOL Impresses At Cape Cod Debut appeared first on AVweb.

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