Agility Prime completes Joby eVTOL airworthiness evaluation report

The U.S. Air Force’s initiative to accelerate the vertical aircraft market lays the groundwork for the use of Joby’s eVTOL equipment for military missions.
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Joby Aviation eVTOL aircraft

Photo Credit: Joby Aviation

According to a report published on Dec. 10, 2020 by The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) Agility Prime team has issued what is said to be the first-of-its-kind endorsement — formally called an airworthiness evaluation — of Joby Aviation’s (Santa Cruz, Calif., U.S.) electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) piloted helicopter, opening the door to using such commercially developed equipment for military missions.

With an initiative to accelerate the growth of the vertical flight market, industry and military officials say Agility Prime’s initial stamp of approval is even meant to lay the groundwork for eventual civilian certification of the technology, as well as the approval of autonomous inter and intracity flights. For now, however, it is said Joby will become the first primary maker of eVTOL aircraft providing transportation for the U.S. armed services. 

USAF approval will also enable the acceleration for the aircraft’s safety analyses via conducted flight tests, pledging to pay for contracts seeking to verify vehicle reliability and generally vetting the capabilities of vehicles through direct and indirect funding of the company. With flight tests already planned to begin in early 2021, the Air Force’s actions indicate its intent to jumpstart the industry (read CW’s outlook on eVTOL market “Composite aerostructures in the emerging urban air mobility market”)

According to Joby Aviation CEO JoeBen Bevirt, the company’s “partnership with the Air Force has been transformative” and has “given us access to facilities, resources and equipment that accelerated testing and allowed us to prove out the reliability and performance of our aircraft.”

This past December, Joby Aviation also finalized a long-term carbon fiber supply agreement with Toray Advanced Composites for this aircraft.

Find the full report here