EHang’s EH216-S two-seat eVTOL aircraft has received a type certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), clearing the way for commercial passenger-carrying flights to begin in China. The achievement is especially remarkable given that EHang’s aircraft will operate autonomously with no pilot on board.
The approval demonstrates that the EH216-S’s model design fully complies with CAAC’s safety standards and airworthiness requirements and that the EH216-S is qualified for conducting passenger-carrying UAV commercial flights in China. It also makes the two-seat model the first eVTOL vehicle in the world to be cleared for commercial use.
EHang’s EH216-S type certificate application was formally accepted by CAAC in January 2021. Since then, the EHang team has collaborated closely with CAAC and its expert team to validate and verify the innovative and cutting-edge technologies of the aircraft. They have overcome various difficulties and challenges in more than 1,000 days and nights of hard work and successfully achieved all types certification objectives.
CAAC formally published the Special Conditions for the EH216-S UAV System in February 2022. It is a pioneering initiative that China has formulated a rigorous and scientific regulatory framework of airworthiness certification for the EH216-S passenger-carrying UAV system.
In an October 13 press release, EHang explained that the validation process for the EH216-S. During the validation process, the EH216-S underwent extensive laboratory, ground, and flight tests at professional aviation laboratories and test sites across multiple locations in China. The process scrutinized components, equipment, and the entire aircraft for prefabricated defects, faults, and interferences during both laboratory experiments and flight trials.
With that, the safety, airworthiness, performance, functionality, usability, and reliability of the EH216-S have been thoroughly and rigorously validated through more than 500 specific test items, over 40,000 test flights for adjustments, and formal conformity validation tests covering 65 major categories and more than 450 individual test items.
CAAC’s experience and expertise in conducting the EH216-S airworthiness certification provides a significant reference for the global aviation industry and plays a pivotal role in shaping regulations, standards, and norms for unmanned eVTOL airworthiness certification, serving as a crucial benchmark for the industry worldwide.