FAA approves Joby’s approach to eVTOL air taxi development

joby faa air taxi

Its recent electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) prototype crash notwithstanding, California-based Joby Aviation is pursuing its target of launching commercial air taxi services in 2024 with a single-minded focus. Today, the company announced the successful completion of the initial FAA systems and compliance reviews for aircraft certification.

Joby says these reviews, completed at the end of last year, were recently granted approval by the FAA, providing the company with confidence in its development approach, preliminary production design, and defined path toward certification. Here’s what the FAA reviews evaluated:

  • The FAA Systems Review assessed Joby’s plans and process for the development of safety-focused, aerospace-grade systems and equipment. Systems involved in the review included flight controls, propulsion controls, battery management, etc.
  • The Compliance Review evaluated Joby’s approach to the development and verification of aerospace-grade software and airborne electronic hardware.

And Tom Ferrell, development assurance lead at Joby, is quick to point out that successfully completing both reviews with what is regarded as one of the world’s toughest and most respected regulators is no mean feat. Ferrell says:

The safety of modern aircraft owe much to rigorous, well-defined and repeatable development and verification processes. We will now proceed to the second round of reviews, which focus on the outputs of Joby’s development process, including validation of certification requirements, design capture, and implementation of that design in both hardware and software.

Joby’s piloted five-seat eVTOL air taxi has been in the works for more than a decade now. It can carry four passengers at speeds of up to 200 mph (320 km/h), with a maximum range of 150 miles (240 km). The company detailed it had begun the fourth of the five steps in the process to obtain Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate from the FAA earlier this month.

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