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White House Infrastructure Coordinator tours Beta Technologies’ flight test center in Plattsburgh

 White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu with NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at Beta Technologies Plattsburgh Flight test center.
Pat Bradley
White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu (right, foreground) with NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at Beta Technologies Plattsburgh flight test center. Beta CEO Kyle Clark is in the background.

Beta Technologies was formed in 2017 to produce zero-emission electric aircraft. Today a key advisor to President Joe Biden toured the company’s flight test center in Plattsburgh.

Beta Technologies’ main production facility is located at the Burlington International Airport in Vermont. It tests prototype aircraft there and at its flight test center on the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, and local officials hosted White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu in Plattsburgh for a tour of the New York facility.

Gillibrand, a member of the Armed Services Committee, called the technology extraordinary with endless applications.

“This shows another vision about how to innovate transportation for lots of applications like medical use for emergency applications as well as military uses and delivery uses. I’m very excited about this extraordinary zero emission battery powered aircraft. I think the charging infrastructure is brilliant and I really appreciate the training programs that we are managing here for electric pilots as well as maintainers.”

Landrieu says the administration takes the threat of climate change seriously and the nation must move towards electrifying the economy.

“There’s huge numbers of applications for what’s going on here. So it’s great on behalf of the President to be here on the ground looking at the innovation. I’m also thrilled to hear about the partnerships that you have with the Department of Defense and then of course with health delivery organizations. I’m very excited to learn about the workforce training side of this.”

Beta Technologies CEO Kyle Clark told Landrieu that aerospace is the last transportation sector to embrace electric technology.

“Every other form of transportation has gone electric. Cars are going electric. Buses are going electric. Trains are hybrid already and going more electric."

"Right," Landrieu agreed. "Right."

"If we don’t do anything," added Clark, "about it in aerospace we unfortunately will be the number one producer of carbon emissions by 2035."

"That’s right, 35 percent now," confirmed Landrieu.

"Yes. It is absolutely imperative that we do something about the aerospace industry," said Clark. "We also appreciate the focus by the current administration on climate. And I find our call to action as a generation is to turn the corner on climate change. We have to care and steward our country and our world into something that’s going to be sustainable and real for our future generations.”

Landrieu expects to see more public-private investments in electric aviation as the nation transitions to an electric economy.

“And as the private sector moves into this space and everything starts to catalyze you’ll start to see public and private investments start to swing off of each other and then you’ll see more investments. You’ll see the federal government come in in this sense and I think we’ll see a pretty aggressive movement into the aerospace. All of the private sector partners in the aerospace are going to get into this. And of course as we have innovators like this leading the way you’ll see more catalytic investments in these areas as well. So I feel very optimistic about it.”

First Lady Jill Biden visited Beta Technologies’ headquarters in Vermont in early April. Gillibrand and Landrieu held a number of events across New York as part of today’s visit.