Aircraft

Joby returns to flight testing, continuing to tick certification boxes

Joby returns to flight testing...
Joby has returned its second pre-production eVTOL prototype to its test flight program after an internal safety review
Joby has returned its second pre-production eVTOL prototype to its test flight program after an internal safety review
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Joby has returned its second pre-production eVTOL prototype to its test flight program after an internal safety review
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Joby has returned its second pre-production eVTOL prototype to its test flight program after an internal safety review
Joby's second pre-production prototype, tail number N542BJ, has been given the green light to continue flight tests
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Joby's second pre-production prototype, tail number N542BJ, has been given the green light to continue flight tests
Joby Aviation flew more than 1,000 test flights with N542AJ before it was lost in a crash
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Joby Aviation flew more than 1,000 test flights with N542AJ before it was lost in a crash
The company has not adjusted its target date of 2024 for entry into service
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The company has not adjusted its target date of 2024 for entry into service
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Joby Aviation has announced it's back in the air after crashing one of its two tilt-rotor eVTOL prototypes during testing in February. The company says it's continued making progress on multiple fronts of the labyrinthine task of FAA certification during its downtime.

Joby voluntarily paused test flights with its second pre-production prototype after the first was presumably destroyed in an unmanned crash, but its internal safety review board has given the green light to resume testing. Data from flight trackers suggests the incident happened at the outer edges of the aircraft's flight envelope, but the company is releasing no further information until FAA and NTSB investigations are complete.

The second aircraft, meanwhile, has made 38 flights in total, at speeds up to 90 mph. “We’re excited to be back in the air with our second pre-production prototype aircraft, building on the tremendous flight test achievements our team has made to date,” said Didier Papadopoulos, Head of Programs and Systems at Joby. “Last year alone, we flew more than 5,300 miles, generating 65 terabytes of flight test data and demonstrating an endurance of 154.6 miles on a single charge.”

Joby Aviation flew more than 1,000 test flights with N542AJ before it was lost in a crash
Joby Aviation flew more than 1,000 test flights with N542AJ before it was lost in a crash

During the testing hiatus, Joby continued the relentless march toward multiple forms of FAA certification, making several announcements on this front. Firstly, the company has reached stage 4 of 5 in its Part 135 Air Carrier certificate, a process involving a giant stack of paperwork, processes, training, maintenance and operations manuals which will allow Joby to operate its own air taxi service, scheduled to begin in 2024. It expects to have this certificate by the end of the year.

Secondly, it announced the completion and approval of its first Systems Review and Compliance review. This is the FAA giving its thumbs-up to say Joby's engineering and development practices are up to aerospace standards, they're generating all the right data to take into the type certification process, and effectively setting the company up properly to develop and manufacture approved aircraft.

Thirdly, on the aircraft type certification front, the company announced what it believes is the eVTOL industry's first "area-specific certification plan." While the full FAA certification conditions for the S4 eVTOL aircraft are still only around 70 percent settled, Joby has decided essentially to break the type certification up into smaller chunks, demonstrating its compliance with the standards that are available in order to accelerate the overall timeframe. Thus, it's submitted a certification plan for its first area: "cabin safety, comprising the integrity of materials, seats and occupant restraints used in the interior of the aircraft," and will continue to submit more of these plans in the coming months.

The company has not adjusted its target date of 2024 for entry into service
The company has not adjusted its target date of 2024 for entry into service

In its shareholder letter for Q4 2021, the company revealed its workforce has expanded to more than 1,000 employees, 100 of which are certification specialists. Its first "production-intent" aircraft is being built at a pilot manufacturing facility in Marina, California, using automated fiber placement robots and additive manufacturing processes, and Joby expects it to fly before the end of 2022. The company started 2022 with an impressive $1.3 billion war chest, and expects to spend between US$340-360 million in 2022 on "operating activities and purchases of property and equipment."

Source: Joby Aviation

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11 comments
11 comments
Towerman
Why of course JOBY is back ! With the added bonus of having test data few companies posses, when pushing the previous prototype to its very limits !

GO JOBY ! See you Operating Commercially in the skies SHORTLY !
Arcticshade
“Last year alone, we flew more than 5,300 miles, generating 65 terabytes of flight test data and demonstrating an endurance of 154.6 miles on a single charge.”

Outstanding ! JOBY, King of the EVTOL revolution ! !
HokenPoke
With plenty of funding and closely working with authorities JOBY has progressively and is continuing to win their way to the top of the Game !

2024 here we come !
doc
Excellent Didier with fresh data NOW the craft would be turned into an even better machine.

"The second aircraft, meanwhile, has made 38 flights in total, at speeds up to 90 mph. “We’re excited to be back in the air with our second pre-production prototype aircraft, building on the tremendous flight test achievements our team has made to date,” said Didier Papadopoulos, Head of Programs and Systems at Joby"
vince
IF it's electric let it fly. If it's gas shoot it down! Just kidding but we need to get rid of those fossil fuel running planes of all types.
Noah Tall
Year after year, all variations of multi prop egg beater absurd contraptions everyone is excited about and so far nothing really practicably applicable..... Imagine the sky full of swarms of these things even if they did take off,... pardon the pun.
No clue.
eHyperdupe...
Erg
I don't see EVTOL being more than a niche thing. I hate to say it but "Segway" or for those with better memories - Ginger or IT.
doc
@Noah Tall
Well then Clearly you have not been following any of the news as you claim you do.

The emphasis is especially on practical in more ways than current rotor wing craft can dream to forefill.

Ehang is already flying commercially. Joby Soon to be.

Contraptions is a term understood by the older generation as involving mechanically complex wear prone backyard slap it together machines.(with that old gramaphone music pkaying in the background)

The top EVTOL companies including JOBY is based on the most advanced electronical and mechanical engineering Proven for utmost reliability and efficiency, developed by Reputable companies and built by engineers.

Yes imagine them flying overhead we do so everyday, its about time we have safe machines traversing the sky. And soon they will.
Time to get out if the cave and embrace reality ;)
Deres
What surprise me is the different mechanism for the two front motors. Probably because they need frontal vertical lift and do not want to make them move back while rotating. But this lead first to a very complex mechanical system for these two motors instead of the simple swivel of the others rear motors. This could be one future fragility of this plane. Moreover this means that all the motors are not the same.
HokenPoke
@ Deres i fail to see any of your reasoning holding merit.
Any multicopter needs frontal lift moot point. The retract extend mechanism allows for simple movement and reduced drag. There are numerous ways to make such a system reliable.
You want to see complex and a fail prone system, just look at a helicopter.
If you think you can better upon Joby's design, build an EVTOL, and show us your flying example with real life figures.
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