Joby Aviation reaches dual FAA and USAF milestones

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Joby Aviation, the developers of eVTOL aircraft for commercial passenger service, has received FAA Special Airworthiness Certification and US Air Force Airworthiness Approval for a second pre-production prototype aircraft.

(Image: Joby Aviation Inc)

The first pre-production prototype generated 65TB of test data in 2021, flying over 5,300 miles, including what is believed to be the longest flight of an eVTOL aircraft to date, at 154.6 miles on a single charge.

Joby said the second aircraft will ‘significantly accelerate’ its capacity for flight testing in 2022, further supporting company ambitions to certify its aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in time to launch commercial operations in 2024.

The aircraft is expected to begin flying later this month and will be put into service as part of Joby’s Agility Prime contract with the US Air Force, which is an initiative to accelerate the development of prototype eVTOL aircraft through funding for early flight testing and experimentation.

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In a statement, JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby, said: “Our 2021 flight test program delivered a wealth of information and experience to support our program. With two aircraft flying at the same time, we’ll be able to increase the speed of our learnings as planned, while continuing to fulfil the requirements of our Agility Prime contract.

“We’re grateful to the US Air Force for our ongoing relationship and support and to the FAA for continuing to foster innovation in the aviation industry.”

With a maximum range of 150 miles and a top speed of 200mph, Joby’s all-electric aircraft is designed to carry four passengers, plus pilot, with zero operating emissions. Joby began flying full-scale prototypes in 2017 and has completed over 1,000 flight tests to date. The California-based company aims to launch passenger services in 2024.

In 2020, Joby became the first and only eVTOL company to sign a G-1 (stage 4) certification basis with the FAA, having received an initial (stage 2) signed G-1 from the FAA in 2019. In parallel, the company said it continues to make progress with the FAA on defining the means of compliance that will apply to its aircraft as it progresses with certification.