Aircraft

Joby sets new record with 154.6-mile eVTOL flight

Joby sets new record with 154....
Joby's eVTOL, like others in the class, burns a lot of battery power in hover mode, and can only realize its impressive range figures once in horizontal flight supported by wings
Joby's eVTOL, like others in the class, burns a lot of battery power in hover mode, and can only realize its impressive range figures once in horizontal flight supported by wings
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eVTOL aircraft like this five-seater from Joby Aviation will be vastly quieter and cheaper than helicopters – so we can expect to see them flood our skies in much greater numbers over the coming decades
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eVTOL aircraft like this five-seater from Joby Aviation will be vastly quieter and cheaper than helicopters – so we can expect to see them flood our skies in much greater numbers over the coming decades
The Joby eVTOL aircraft during unmanned flight testing in California
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The Joby eVTOL aircraft during unmanned flight testing in California
Joby seems poised to dominate the early stages of the eVTOL market, with an excellent aircraft and strong positions in manufacturing, certification, customer service, finance and now ground-based infrastructure
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Joby seems poised to dominate the early stages of the eVTOL market, with an excellent aircraft and strong positions in manufacturing, certification, customer service, finance and now ground-based infrastructure
Joby's eVTOL, like others in the class, burns a lot of battery power in hover mode, and can only realize its impressive range figures once in horizontal flight supported by wings
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Joby's eVTOL, like others in the class, burns a lot of battery power in hover mode, and can only realize its impressive range figures once in horizontal flight supported by wings
Test flights have been unmanned thus far
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Test flights have been unmanned thus far
Joby has completed more than a thousand test flights around its idyllic location in the Santa Cruz hills
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Joby has completed more than a thousand test flights around its idyllic location in the Santa Cruz hills
The Joby aircraft's six rotors all tilt forward in a vectored thrust configuration to achieve high-speed horizontal winged flight
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The Joby aircraft's six rotors all tilt forward in a vectored thrust configuration to achieve high-speed horizontal winged flight
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View gallery - 8 images

Joby has flown a new record distance for a full-sized eVTOL aircraft on a single battery charge, covering 154.6 miles (249 km) in a single 77-minute flight, complete with energy-gobbling vertical takeoff and landing phases.

Remote-piloted from the ground by the company's Chief Test Pilot Justin Paines, the aircraft took off from Joby's Electric Flight Base in Big Sur, California, then transitioned to winged flight and completed 11 laps of a round circuit before coming in to land.

In doing so, Joby put some real-world validation behind its promised 150-plus mile range, showing that such figures are indeed possible using today's commercially available lithium-ion batteries. "While we still have plenty more testing to do, achieving this milestone is an important validation of our technology," said Paines, "and I’m incredibly proud to have played a small part in what is, to our knowledge, the longest all-electric eVTOL flight performed to date."

A flight tracker plot of Joby's 154.6-mile flight
A flight tracker plot of Joby's 154.6-mile flight

eVTOLs place extraordinary demands on batteries, requiring huge power density during the vertical lift flight phases and huge energy density to allow any decent sort of range figure. Joby says it has gone with an 811 NMC cathode and a graphite anode cell, and believes after lab testing that its battery packs will fly more than 10,000 "expected nominal flight cycles" in the life of a production aircraft.

"Since the day I joined Joby four years ago," said Jon Wagner, Head of Powertrain and Electronics, "we’ve worked hard to maximize the energy efficiency of this aircraft and prove what we have always known to be possible with today’s battery technology. With the right cell chemistry and a lot of hard work across the entire engineering team, we’ve been able to create a remarkably efficient aircraft that can make the most of today’s commercially available batteries."

It's important to note that this distance record was flown with an empty cabin; production versions will need to lift five passengers plus luggage, adding a very significant amount of weight to the airframe that'll push the propulsion system a lot harder. It'd be fascinating to know how Joby's prototype is performing with dummy loads – and indeed how this affects the aircraft's noise profile.

It's unclear when we can expect to see fully manned flights in these things; eHang has been zooming people around in China, seemingly unfettered by regulators, and Volocopter today released footage of its first manned flight on US soil, but as yet most of the major players are still flying their aircraft on remote control.

Check out a (greatly shortened) video of Joby's long-distance flight below.

Flying 150+ Miles with Joby's Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing Aircraft

Source: Joby Aviation

View gallery - 8 images
16 comments
16 comments
guzmanchinky
VERY cool. But yes, I wonder how much a normal load will affect this machine. I sure would love to own one...
Towerman
Outstanding ! ! ! Well done Justin !
Dreams are being realized and JOBY is taking the lead ! !

To the trolls that will try to plaster the comment section with mo


David
The Joby is definitely among my favourite e-planes. Well done to all involved. Next, in addition to PR flights for guests from the aviation press, they need in-cabin video and sound (without muzak) so potential passengers can get an idea of what the eVTOL experience is like.
Towerman
The trolls are staring proof right in the face.
Now with Joby and Volo taking the lead, lets here from the other favorites including Skai and CityHawk.
dan
Very cool! JOBY has the right concept, even if Lilium and other look cooler. But at the end efficiency counts for business. I wonder what the unit will cost, fully certified and ready to fly with, and how much maintenance would cost. For comparison: Lilium announced a 4 million US $ price tag and annual maintenance cost of 1 million. Anyone knows about JOBY?
Steven Clarkson
By far Joby's machine looks coolest.
Congratulations this will pave the way up to a global revolution in flight !

Lilium has a price tag if 2.5 million $ not 4 million. https://www.flightglobal.com/aerospace/lilium-puts-25-million-price-tag-on-initial-jets/143724.article

Some small private jets has a maintence cost of 4 million $
dan
@ Steven: Thank you! In June 2021 CPO of Lilium said it was 4 mio US$ and 1mio for maintenance, annually. I read/got the interview here https://newatlas.com/aircraft/interview-lilium-chief-program-officer-yves-yemsi/ I hope they do not get more expensive every month! Anyone knows about JOBY?
jerryd
At last an honest writer saying the obvious since the company sure won't. Thanks.
With a payload this will be lucky to get of the ground, Fact is props like these only make 5lb/kw of lift vs a rotor of the same diameter makes 22-25lbs/kw of life. The is basic aeronautics in any good textbook.
Next 1-2 rotors are a lot lighter, cheaper than a multirotor. There is a reason the Mar's helicopter and our newest military ones are 2 rotors. And naturally, dynamically stable, needs no computer to run.
Peter S
@dan
They seem to be aiming for $1.3M per aircraft according to the financial section of their Analyst Day Presentation, look at page 86.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/11AhkR8_9eoswFjKlMimsku6s07aLYOQK/view
niio
@Steven

No small private jet has a $4m annual maintenance bill. The average small jet is $800/hr for engine and airframe and operate 400hr/yr, so $320k. They are not designed for ten minute trips so not really a very good comparison.
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