Aircraft

Joby accelerates certification effort with second pre-production eVTOL

Joby accelerates certification...
Joby aviation has rolled out its second pre-production eVTOL prototype to accelerate its certification program
Joby aviation has rolled out its second pre-production eVTOL prototype to accelerate its certification program
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Joby aviation has rolled out its second pre-production eVTOL prototype to accelerate its certification program
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Joby aviation has rolled out its second pre-production eVTOL prototype to accelerate its certification program

American eVTOL pioneer Joby Aviation is accelerating its path to FAA type certification, today unveiling a second pre-production prototype that's already approved to join the company's flight test program. It'll take its first flights later this month.

Joby is targeting 2024 as the launch date for its electric air taxi service, but still needs to climb the mountain of commercial certification – among many other daunting peaks – before it can take passengers. A large part of this campaign will be about putting lots of hours on its flight-testing prototypes, as the company and the authorities work to understand these novel tilt-prop transitioning aircraft and figure out how to make them every bit as safe as an airliner.

This California-based company has been on the bleeding edge of eVTOL technology for more than a decade now, being one of the first companies driving the frenzied wave of eVTOL development that's broken in the last couple of years. There are a lot of ideas out there, but basically no other company in the United states that can claim to have so much testing already under its belt.

Joby Aviation's remarkable tilt-prop S4 is among the front-running aircraft in the nascent eVTOL sector
Joby Aviation's remarkable tilt-prop S4 is among the front-running aircraft in the nascent eVTOL sector

Joby's first prototype S4 air taxi flew more than 5,300 miles (8,530 km) last year, and has more than 1,000 test-flight notches on its belt. It's one of the few transitioning eVTOLs today that have been publicly shown handling takeoff, hover, the transition to horizontal winged flight and back again, and landing. What's more, the S4 has proven its claims of a 150-plus mile (240-plus km) range, by undertaking what is believed to be the longest eVTOL flight ever, at 154.6 miles (248.8 km) – although it did so without the considerable weight of any humans on board.

The new prototype, having already received FAA Special Airworthiness Certification and US Air Force Airworthiness Approval, will join the flight test program by the end of the month. It's going to the US Air Force, where it'll be flown as part of Joby's contract with the Agility Prime program – the American military's effort to accelerate the country's most promising electric VTOL programs so Chinese companies like eHang don't get too far ahead.

"Our 2021 flight test program delivered a wealth of information and experience to support our program," says Joby founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt. "With two aircraft flying at the same time, we’ll be able to increase the speed of our learnings as planned, while continuing to fulfill 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."

You can see the new aircraft in the video below.

Joby Increases Flight Test Capacity in Support of FAA Certification Goal

Source: Joby Aviation

14 comments
14 comments
Towerman
Joby is doing everything by the book. The FAA should be proud.
Joby is on a path destined for great things. Thanks for inspiring millions across the globe !
FB36
Conditions for a proper flying-car (IMHO):
1: Fully electric drive (+ biodiesel/biofuel (NOT H2!) gas turbine generator)!
2: Hexacopter/octocopter! (It needs to be able to fly/land OK w/ 1 propeller failed!)
3: Needs to be able to fit into 1 (or 2) car parking spaces!
4: Needs to be able to carry 3 people (or 2 people + baggage)!
5: Its propellers need to be able to do auto-rotation in case of total power failure (for soft landing)!
6: It needs to self-correct (w/o power) to always fall upright!
7: It needs internal (+ external) airbags!
doc
Indeed i agree Joby has made a phenomenal effort to take EVTOL's closer to commercial status.
I am glad to see that Ehang will have a real life contender and can't wait to see the results of the ongoing tests that lies ahead ! Mr Loz...Keep us posted !
guzmanchinky
Very cool. AVWeb did an excellent video on this that everyone should go check out. I can't wait to take one of these from Orange County to San Diego or Santa Barbara. I used to fly my Skyboy on those routes and it was beautiful...
dan
@FB36: Yeahh, but don't be too hard, Joby is doing fine, but at its limits. So, don't push too hard. You have read in the article, they flew 5300 miles in 1000 flights, so 5 miles per flight on average... still a long way to go, even if they may fly 150 miles without payload. So, this technology will take time, a lot of time, until being competitive to helicopters and alike. But a cool toy for the very rich!
Steven Clarkson
@FB36
1. Practical evidence proved154.6 miles of range, no generator needed, should one be used for longer range until batteries advance,
H2 is a MUST Should a generator be used biofuel is way too expensive to generate.
2. Can do that even with more than one motor failure. So that condition is exceeded.
3. This is not a requirement for viable commercial operation though it would be great to see a future CityHawk or variant fill that niche.
4. Again not a requirement for succesful commercialization but Not a problem for joby or ehang.
5.Not needed this is new generation technology it has got super reliable Electric motors and redundency to make sure the craft will land safely in case of motor failures. Many a times unfortunately auto rotation on helicopters has proven not to save crafts/pilots.
6.Multicopters will never be without power because of redundency so not required.
7.Helicopters don't have it, why should multicopters when they can actually land safely with motor failures compared to dodgy auto rotation on helicopters.
Steven Clarkson
@dan
Let me highlight the real life tests again:

""Joby's first prototype S4 air taxi flew more than 5,300 miles (8,530 km) last year, and has more than 1,000 test-flight notches on its belt. It's one of the few transitioning eVTOLs today that have been publicly shown handling takeoff, hover, the transition to horizontal winged flight and back again, and landing. What's more, the S4 has proven its claims of a 150-plus mile (240-plus km) range, by undertaking what is believed to be the longest eVTOL flight ever, at 154.6 miles (248.8 km) ""

Real life implementation is Much closer than you think. The "rich" will not even begin to have it as an option as a "toy" because Joby's S4 will be used in Commercial Taxi businesses.
After that maybe purchase to the public might be considered.
Alexander Cokonis
It looks like an oversized toy. It will only work with fuel cell for commercial purposes. Batteries extremely dangerous for general aviation.
Aermaco
The eHang is a first-off-looking drone prototype that they did not improve for the market which keeps Joby as clearly a 100%+ better concept going into the future.

ICE power plants are a dead-end in the long term for sure. The airbags &/or autorotation on tiny props are wishful thinking at best falling with dead batteries at any functional heights.
However with 2 stage ballistic chutes (if light & compact enough) there will then be a safe answer for the long future of antique wind-choppers. Two stages inflate the chute before the vertical acceleration begins thus no height is lost trying to slow the falling inertia.

I predict that it will be direct electric propulsion from the electrons to the reaction mass air that will ultimately lift the majority of eVTOL traffic.
HokenPoke
Alexander Cokonis:
Nope it looks like a real life fully functional and close to commercialization Futuristic EVTOL (Which guess what, it IS ;) Time to get out more.. ;) An Era of new expansion in aviation have arrived.

Then, No batteries are safe and can be monitored, Most airliners are using Lithium batteries to power their systems now and after one major incident many years ago, has been working just fine.

@Aermaco
If it ain't broke don't fix it, Ehang's 216 has been working flawlessly carrying people for Commercial Flights. It's niche is Short City Hops and has been doing just fine there. Go EHANG !

Airbags is not needed, it has multiple redundancies built in which is beyond current ICE technology (something that many still need to comprehend and realize as they think with an ICE era mindset) Which means it is safer than gambling your life on a autorotation to end well.

As to the rest we both agree.

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