Joby Aviation, Inc has today announced it has received a Special Airworthiness Certificate for the first aircraft built at its Pilot Production Line in Marina, California. Issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, the certificate allows Joby to begin flight testing of its first production prototype.
“The aircraft is expected to become the first ever eVTOL aircraft to be delivered to a customer when it moves to Edwards Air Force Base in 2024 to be operated by Joby as part of the Company’s Agility Prime contract with the U.S. Air Force, worth up to USD131 million,” said the company in a press statement.
“Joby has been flying full size aircraft since 2017 and its pre-production prototype aircraft have flown more than 30,000 miles since 2019. Today’s production prototype builds on that experience and marks another important step toward achieving FAA certification and production at scale.”
Commenting on Joby’s progress, JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby, said: “Today’s achievement is the culmination of years of investment in our processes and technology and it marks a major step on our journey to scaled production.
“Recognizing the key role Toyota has played in the design of Joby’s Pilot Production Line, as well as in the production and assembly of the Joby aircraft, Tetsuo “Ted” Ogawa, President and Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Motor North America, Inc., will join more than 1,000 guests and team members at Joby’s Marina facility later today to celebrate the launch of production,” said the release.
Ogawa, who will join Joby’s Board of Directors on July 1, 2023, said: “We congratulate Joby on reaching this milestone and look forward to working ever more closely as Joby prepares to scale production and start operations.”
Toyota is Joby’s largest external shareholder, having invested around USD400 million in the Company, and the two companies recently signed a long-term agreement for the supply of powertrain and actuation components.
“Joby’s production prototype aircraft has been manufactured in accordance with a released design and built according to a complete implementation of a quality management system — an important step on the path to achieving the Federal Aviation Administration type certification required to begin commercial passenger operations.
“Joby plans to begin commercial passenger operations in 2025 and recently partnered with Delta Air Lines to deliver seamless, emissions-free travel for Delta customers traveling to and from airports.”
Gail Grimmett, Senior Vice President, Sustainability Performance and Strategic Partnerships at Delta, said: “Today marks an important step forward on the journey to deliver a more sustainable future of travel while elevating the customer experience. The innovation know-how and spirit that drives Joby made today’s celebration possible and we’re excited to march one step closer to offering this service to our customers.”
The aircraft will now undergo initial flight testing before being delivered to Edwards Air Force Base, California, where it will be used to demonstrate a range of potential logistics use cases.
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(Image: The first aircraft to come off Joby’s Pilot Production Line in Marina, CA (left))