"We can literally take the helmets off in the aircraft and just talk to one another.”
Pilot Chris Caputo recently took to the skies in an electric airplane dubbed CX300, a sleek and futuristic six-seater built by his Vermont-based employer Beta Technologies.
But it wasn't the flight down the East Coast to deliver it to the Air Force for testing that left an impression on Caputo, as the New York Times reports, nor the nearly two dozen stops for recharging over 16 days of travel.
What really captured his heart was the near silence. After all, Beta's airplane does away with the need for loud jet engines or propeller engines, allowing it to soar through the sky while making a relative whisper. It's essentially the equivalent of the near silence enjoyed by drivers of modern EVs.
"You’re almost one with the plane," Caputo told the NYT. "You can kind of hear and feel the air going across the flight control surfaces."
"We wear helmets right now because it’s experimental and safety is paramount, but we can literally take the helmets off in the aircraft and just talk to one another," he added.
The range of Beta's airplane still leaves something to be desired, so far topping out at just 386 miles on a single charge, per the NYT. But the company is aiming for its customers to use it for much shorter trips of just 100 to 150 miles anyway.
Since electric airplanes are still reliant on heavy and comparatively inefficient batteries, it'll likely take years until we see more electric airplanes in the sky — or at least planes that can carry more passengers or significant amounts of cargo over longer distances.
In the meantime, Beta is hoping to win FAA certification next year for its in-house motor, per the report, and eventually the company's aircraft, the CX300, followed by the A250, which is capable of vertical take-off and landing.
It's a hopeful vision of the future of air travel. Besides a major reduction in emissions, electric planes like the CX300 could soon offer passengers are far more enjoyable — and less deafening — ride.
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