Joby Aviation has received FAA special airworthiness certification and US Air Force airworthiness approval for a second pre-production prototype aircraft.
The first pre-production prototype generated 65 terabytes of test data in 2021, flying more than 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.
As planned, the second aircraft will significantly accelerate Joby's capacity for flight testing in 2022, further supporting the company's ambition to certify its aircraft with the 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.
Founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt says: “Our 2021 flight test programme delivered a wealth of information and experience to support our programme. 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.”
US Air Force airworthiness was received just six days after the FAA special airworthiness certification was granted. This approval timeline reflects joint work between Joby and the US Air Force to streamline certification requirements and demonstrates their commitment to introduce novel aviation technologies to the commercial market.
With a maximum range of 150 miles and a top speed of 200 mph, Joby's all-electric aircraft is designed to carry four passengers and a pilot with zero operating emissions. The company began flying full-scale prototypes in 2017 and has completed more than 1,000 flight tests to date. Joby aims to launch passenger service 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 to this work, the company continues to make progress with the FAA on defining the means of compliance that will apply to its aircraft as it progresses with certification efforts.