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All-Electric Fixed-Wing Offloads Cargo at JB MDL

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Joseph Vigil
  • Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst played a vital role in a historic first cargo flight as part of a demonstration of the ALIA CTOL battery-powered fixed-wing aircraft, July 9, 2024. The National Aerospace Research and Technology Park (NARTP) in Atlantic City tested the aircraft’s cargo usage by flying a lap pattern from Atlantic City, Dover AFB, and JB MDL.

The U.S. Air Force, in a significant partnership with BETA Technologies, has been instrumental in the development of ALIA. This groundbreaking aircraft, with a range of 250 nautical miles and the capacity to seat up to five passengers, is a testament to the Air Force's adaptability to new technologies. The Air Force's interest in the ALIA’s flexible applications further reinforces its commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements.

Moving cargo between Dover AFB and JB MDL with the ALIA is advantageous because it saves time and many other valuable resources.

BETA Technologies Flight Test Engineer Ross Elkort said, “We can be ready to take off in a matter of minutes, and the battery has a low center of gravity, which is not affected by the way you load the cargo.”

The 305th Maintenance Squadron’s Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory team unloaded 319 lbs of cargo from Dover and loaded 222 lbs to send on a return trip.

“It brings key innovation to the mission. It's going to make things faster and simpler,” Alyxandra Scalone, 305 Maintenance Squadron Production Controller, said. “Dover is about two and a half hours away from us. Today’s flight only took 45 minutes.”

An all-electric aircraft like the ALIA is the next evolution of rapid global mobility. “We started working with the AFWERX Agility Prime Program in 2019. We are super excited to be here and supporting Air Mobility Command,” said Zachary White, BETA Technologies Team Member. “Doing different types of missions and flying cargo between bases, it was great to see the flexibility of this aircraft.”

Having that last-mile cargo delivery handled by a battery-powered fixed-wing is an opportunity to make air mobility safer, cleaner, and more cost-effective.