By Chris Stonor
Joby Aviation received this week the first “military airworthiness approval” for an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle from the AFWERX Agility Prime program, reports aviationtoday.com.
Joby’s been all over the news in recent days when rumours were confirmed that the company has purchased the Uber division of Uber Elevate.
Recent UAMN Article on Joby Aviation:
Will Roper, Air Force and Space Force Acquisition Technology and Logistics Chief announced this latest Joby news at the AFWERX Accelerate webinar on Thursday (Dec’ 10th).
Roper said, “This is an exciting announcement because it means you are literally seeing a new market emerge. This is exactly the type of public-private partnership innovation the Air Force and Space Force want to be a part of.”
He continued, “We want to make amazing things happen, not just for the military, but for the world. We are excited to see what’s to come for Joby and other companies pushing the boundaries of electric vertical takeoff and landing or flying cars.”
Beta Technologies, another company involved with eVTOL, is close behind as it is expected to receive a similar approval in early 2021 and begin flying missions for the military.
Agility Prime is described as, “A non-traditional program seeking to accelerate the commercial market for advanced air mobility vehicles.”
AFWERX is, “a United States Air Force program with the goal of fostering a culture of innovation within the service. Encompassing a number of programs supported with relatively small amounts of funding, the initiative is intended to circumvent bureaucracy and engage new entrepreneurs in Air Force programs.”
Back in February Agility Prime (AP) launched its Air Race with three different categories of technical requirements for certification. Natasha Tolentino, AP Program Manager, explained, “We have three areas of interest in which we want to tailor or kind of segment the market. “You’ll find that we have the 3-8-passenger, your 1-2-passenger, which is like your trainer, and then your third, which is your cargo only.”
Joby Aviation and Beta Technologies have developed their technologies sufficiently to move forward with the AP program.
JoeBen Bevirt, CEO of Joby Aviation, said, “Our target is really to have these aircraft be a mainstay of daily mobility and that means that they have to blend into our environments.” He continued, “So that’s kind of a foundational thesis of our aircraft design and one of the beauties of electric propulsion.”
Beta Technologies Aircraft
During the webinar, both Joby and Beta Technologies (BT) stated they had made breakthroughs on simulator stations and BT additionally with a charging station at the Springfield airport in Ohio. The simulators will give pilots an opportunity to experience flying these next-generation aircraft.
Brig. Gen. Heather L. Pringle, Commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), also announced a partnership with the Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio unmanned aerial systems (UAS) group, and AFRL to field and operate a ground-based detect and avoid system at the Springfield Beckley Municipal Airport.
Pringle commented, “The system is SkyVision, and it will meet research and development requirements for unmanned aerial vehicles operating beyond visual line of sight in the national aerospace system.”
He continued, “SkyVision helps us accelerate innovation for the state and for the nation. For the warfighter, SkyVision enables AFRL to develop and field innovative unmanned aerial solutions to meet warfighter requirements faster and more cost-effectively.”
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(News Source: https://www.aviationtoday.com)