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FAA announces airworthiness criteria for Joby JAS4-1, highlights differences with EASA

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced the special class airworthiness criteria for the Joby Aero, Inc. (Joby) Model JAS4–1 powered-lift eVTOL. The link below sets out the airworthiness criteria the FAA finds to be appropriate and applicable for the powered-lift design.

The FAA issued a notice of proposed airworthiness criteria for the Model JAS4–1 powered-lift, which published in the Federal Register on November 8, 2022 (87 FR 67399). The FAA issued a notice extending the comment period to December 22, 2022, which published in the Federal Register on December 7, 2022 (87 FR 74994).

According to the document:

“Because the FAA has not yet established powered-lift airworthiness standards in 14 CFR, the FAA type certificates powered-lift as special class aircraft. Under the procedures in § 21.17(b), the airworthiness requirements for special class aircraft, including the engines and propellers installed thereon, are the portions of the requirements in 14 CFR parts 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, 33, and 35 found by the FAA to be appropriate and applicable to the specific type design and any other airworthiness criteria found by the FAA to provide an equivalent level of safety to the existing standards. These final airworthiness criteria announce the applicable regulations and other airworthiness criteria developed, under § 21.17(b), for type certification of the Model JAS4–1 powered-lift…..

“For the existing regulations that were included without modification, the proposed airworthiness criteria included all amendments to the existing parts 23, 33, and 35 airworthiness standards in effect as of the application date of June 14, 2022. These are part 23, amendment 23–64, part 33, amendment 33–34, and part 35, amendment 35–10.

“The Model JAS4–1 powered-lift proposed airworthiness criteria also included new performance-based airworthiness criteria. The FAA developed these criteria because no existing standard captured the powered-lift’s various flight modes and electric engines, and some unique characteristics of their propellers. The new requirements specific to the Model JAS4–1 in the proposed airworthiness criteria used a “JS4.xxxx” section-numbering scheme.

“The FAA received responses from 46 commenters….Several commenters suggested the FAA adopt EASA’s special condition for vertical take-off and landing aircraft (SC–VTOL) requirements for powered-lift. The FAA disagrees and has instead adopted “essential” and “increased” performance approvals. Although the FAA’s “essential” and increased” performance approvals are similar to EASA’s “Category Basic” and “Category Enhanced” approvals, differences remain. The FAA is establishing these airworthiness criteria for the Model JAS4–1 to provide a certification basis for aircraft design approval, while the operational approval is accomplished outside of the aircraft certification process.

“Additionally, both the FAA’s and EASA’s performance levels include the aircraft’s ability to conduct a controlled emergency landing after a condition when the aircraft can no longer provide the commanded power or thrust required for CSFL as specified in JS4.2105(g). To complete the integration of these defined levels of safety requirements, the FAA modified JS4.2115 “Takeoff performance,” JS4.2120 “Climb requirements,” and JS4.2130 “Landing” to incorporate the essential and increased performance requirements.”

For more information

(Image: Joby)

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