Friday, April 12, 2024

Joby receives FAA permit to fly its first production eVTOL air taxi

California-based Joby Aviation has been developing and testing eVTOLs (electric vertical take-off and landing) for a decade now. Most recently, the air mobility startup has received a Special Airworthiness Certificate from FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) for the first aircraft built at its Pilot Production Line in Marina, California, allowing flight testing to begin.

The aircraft is likely to become the first-ever eVTOL aircraft to be delivered to a customer when it moves to Edwards Air Force Base in 2024 to be operated by Joby as part of the Company’s Agility Prime contract with the U.S. Air Force, worth more than $130 million. The Agility Prime program seeks to accelerate the development of these futuristic aircraft, both for potential military uses and to develop America’s sovereign capability in an emerging technology area.

Joby’s Marina, California pilot production plant is also noteworthy because it was developed together with strategic partner and investor Toyota. Toyota is Joby’s largest external shareholder, having invested around $400 million in the Company. Its design team helped Joby’s pilot production line, and it will also supply powertrain and actuation components for the aircraft.

Joby’s pre-production prototype aircraft have flown more than 30,000 miles since 2019. This latest iteration builds on that experience and marks another important step toward achieving type certification and production at scale. Type certification is the formal FAA approval of the design of the aircraft and all component parts. Also, it signifies the design is in compliance with applicable airworthiness, noise, fuel venting, and exhaust emissions standards.

Manufactured in accordance with a released design and built according to a complete implementation of a quality management system, Joby’s production prototype aircraft will soon begin flight tests. It will undergo initial flight testing before being delivered to Edwards Air Force Base, California, where it will be used to demonstrate a range of potential logistics use cases.

Joby plans to begin commercial passenger operations in 2025. It recently partnered with Delta Air Lines to deliver seamless, emissions-free travel for Delta customers traveling to and from airports.