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Joby Aviation Reports Progress on Certification of Its eVTOL

The process is becoming clearer, though a very specific part of the work will require special attention

Joby Aviaiton eVTOL certification
Photo courtesy of Joby Aviation

In a certification process that somewhat mimics a snake devouring oversized prey bit by bit from head to tail, Joby Aviation has declared a milestone by submitting an area-specific certification plan “focused on cabin safety, comprising the integrity of materials, seats, and occupant restraints used in the interior of the aircraft,” according to the company.

Joby is developing its five-seat tiltrotor eVTOL for potential military and commercial service, with plans to carry passengers in aerial ridesharing service by 2024. The company claims to lead Part 23 certification among its peers as the race to sell eVTOLs to an uproven market roars on. Joby is known for a long list of partnerships and affiliations during development, including support from Toyota, Uber, the US Air Force, and Japan’s ANA Holdings.

In a February 10 announcement pertaining to certification, Joby announced commencement of FAA conformity testing, focused on the material strength of the structure of the aircraft. Shortly after that announcement, on February 16, the first of two Joby pre-production prototypes was lost in a crash during uncrewed testing in California. No one was hurt, but the aircraft was destroyed.

Earlier this month, Joby declared it is close to securing a Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate, which it began pursuing in June 2021, and which will allow the company to sell eVTOL charter operations to paying customers. Then, last Friday, Joby announced the approval of its first Systems Review and Compliance review by the FAA.

The catch is, they need a certificated aircraft in order to do that, so all will wait on type and then production certification.

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An interesting bit of detail from the Joby site states, “About 85% of the FAA certification basis includes normal category airplane design rules and the remaining 15% consists of special conditions to address performance such as fly-by-wire, vertical takeoff and landing, and aspects of electric propulsion.”

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