With its eyes set on 2024 to launch a commercial air taxi service, California-based electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle company Joby Aviation has ramped up the flight-testing process of its pre-production prototype aircraft.
In December 2021, Joby received the FAA special airworthiness certification and US Air Force airworthiness approval for a second aircraft, which effectively doubles the company’s test flight capacity. That aircraft is now 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.
The first pre-production prototype flew more than 5,300 miles in 2021 to generate 65 terabytes of critical test data. During this time, the air taxi prototype also completed what is believed to be the longest flight of an eVTOL aircraft to date – 154.6 miles on a single charge.
Now, with a second aircraft significantly accelerating its capacity for flight testing in 2022, Joby is feeling particularly optimistic about getting its aircraft certified with the FAA in time to launch commercial passenger service operations in 2024. JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby, says:
Our 2021 flight test program delivered a wealth of information and experience to support our program. 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.
With a maximum range of 150 miles and a top speed of 200 mph, Joby’s all-electric air taxi 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.
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