Joby Aviation’s prototype aircraft has been given eVTOL airworthiness approval by the US Air Force, as part of the Force’s Agility Prime initiative, which aims to support the rapid certification of eVTOL technology by the Federal Aviation Authority so that the Air Force can begin using the aircraft in 2023.
Joby Aviation, now with airworthiness approval for its eVTOL prototype aircraft, is one of the program’s six flying partners.
“Through [the Defense Innovation Unit] and our partnership with Agility Prime, we have access to a range called Fort Hunter Liggett, where we’re able to very safely test our aircraft, and it’s been a transformative capability for us that we’re very grateful for,” said JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby Aviation.
Further airworthiness approvals expected to come
As part of the Agility Prime program, it seems likely that Beta Technologies, another partner of Agility Prime’s, is to claim the next airworthiness approval from the US Air Force. Company CEO Kyle Clark notes that Beta plans to fly operational missions with its own eVTOL aircraft very soon.
Commenting on the leverage that working with the US Air Force has afforded the company, Clark said: “Everybody online here knows how incredibly efficient the acquisition process was here ... And that simple innovation has completely transformed the pace at which we’re able to do things.”
Clark added: “In my opinion, electric aviation is the inevitable future of aviation. It can’t not be. The ability to go vertical, the flexibility, the cost savings; it’s been used in all other forms of transportation, and now we’re here in aviation and we get to use it again.”
In non-military news, eVTOL aircraft have also been heralded for use in emergency first response. Back in August, China-based EHang Holdings Limited launched the world’s first large-payload intelligent aerial firefighting solution, EHang 216F and experts have since insisted that emergency medical service providers could benefit from early adoption of eVTOL aircraft.