Blade says it’s looking to lower the racket from helicopters and private jets shuttling between the Big Apple and the Hamptons — with the help of a newfangled, super-quiet flying machine.
The New York-based short-distance aviation company, known for its luxe helicopter rides, said Tuesday that it inked a deal with Beta Technologies to buy 20 “electric vertical aircrafts,” or EVAs, to add to its fleet in 2024.
The passenger drones look like they are part helicopter and part private plane, with rotor blades in the rear and on the wings. The smaller blades and electric engines of the EVAs allow them to fly without making a deafening amount of noise.
“Next to safety, being a good neighbor is Blade’s number one priority,” Chief Executive Rob Wiesenthal told The Post. “We have been working on our transition from helicopters to quiet and zero emission Electric Vertical Aircraft [EVA] for five years. These new aircraft are near silent in flight and extremely quiet during takeoff and landing.”
Last year, helicopter-related 311 noise complaints across the city spiked 130 percent, according to a report from news site The City, prompting New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney to reintroduce legislation last month to reduce helicopter traffic, cut down on noise and prohibit non-essential choppers to fly in New York City airspace.
But the group “Say No to KHTO,” which takes its name from traffic controller codes, said the Blade’s electric vehicles won’t do much to solve the problem of summertime air traffic congestion and noise over the Hamptons.
“You’re talking to someone who has lived under siege for 20 years, and frankly it’s too late for them to offer any remedy,” said Patricia Currie, co-founder of the group. “It will be like locusts hovering above us,” she said.
“I don’t see it [electric aircrafts] as a solution for this area,” Currie added. “Far more environmentally-friendly options to the east end of Long Island are available, including the wonderful Jitney service and Long Island Railroad, and even driving.”
Wiesenthal said the new EVA fleet will be the first of many new electric aircraft in Blade’s stable. Additionally, the CEO said that the electric vehicles will be more cost-effective than its gas-guzzling counterparts.
Although the company did not provide specifics, Wiesenthal estimated that traditional Blade rides from Manhattan to the NYC airports, which cost between $95 and $195, will be reduced to between $75 and $125 in the electric vehicles.
The push for electric vehicles has become a national issue with the Biden administration setting aside $174 billion over eight years to support the EV industry.
In a recent interview with Yahoo News, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said it is “important to continue incentivizing and encouraging electric vehicle adoption. We got to make sure that electric vehicles are not just a luxury item, especially because the fuel savings from not having to pay to fill it up with gas will be especially meaningful to lower and middle income American car owners.”