Joby Aviation has released the first in-flight video of its tiltrotor eVTOL after taking the somewhat secretive startup public in a deal worth $1.6 billion. The born-in-a-barn aircraft is shown going through basic flight maneuvers in the video. It appears to be unmanned and flown by remote control. It has five seats and Joby says it will go 150 miles on a charge at speeds up to 200 MPH. Joby also claims the aircraft is 100 times quieter than a conventional aircraft. The Verge is reporting that Joby hopes to begin revenue service in 2024.

The company, which literally houses its engineering team in a barn on a rural property near Santa Cruz, California, recently acquired Uber’s urban mobility division and has attracted hefty investor interest, including the likes of Intel, Toyota and JetBlue. It went public through a reverse merger with a so-called “blank check” company and will be valued at a total of $6.6 billion when it is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Joby has also created an investor presentation in which it says it hopes to build each aircraft for as little as $650,000 and that each Joby can create about $2.2 million in revenue in its lifetime.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. Congrats on their successful flight. Looks like it flies well as an airplane with true VTOL capabilities. Valued at $6.6 billion when it goes public, producing the VTOL at (hopefully) $650,000 each makes me question this…”Joby can create about $2.2 million in revenue in its lifetime. That last sentence needs some clarification. I would surmise, investors will want a slightly better ROI.

    However, getting into production by 2024 is the least of the last major hurdles. That part is easy compared to certification. Epic found the FAA certification process for their conventional airplane took 11 years. PAL-V took 12 years to get the certification rules solidified working in cooperation with the EASA.

    I can’t imagine the time it will take to get the FAA to even promulgate commercial VTOL rules let alone the time it will require to certify the aircraft once the rules are in place. I can just see the internal response…You sign these certification papers…No, YOU sign these certification papers. NO, I am NOT going to sign these certification papers…an so on.

    That will be followed by…We are not going to insure those VTOL airplanes. YOU be the first to insure these VTOL commercial, passenger aircraft. And the beat goes on.

    • It says “EACH Joby can create about $2.2 million”. Of course Icon though they could produce a cheap aircraft too. I don’t see how an unmanned vehicle fits into urban airspace.

  2. Did that first flight have passengers and luggage or even weighted down to simulate true useful payload? I would be happy to watch the full video to see how long the batteries actually last.

    • I’m with you. Still convinced the only viable way something like this would work in a commercial environment would be a hot swappable battery pack.

  3. Joby claims that this aircraft is 100 times quieter than a conventional aircraft? That would mean that it produces 1% as much noise. So looking at some of the audible research done at Purdue University a prop plane at 1K feet is 88db. A 737 at 1NM is 97db. So 1% of these noise levels would be 8-9db’s which right next to you is barely audible. I find that extremely hard to believe.

    • Jim,

      dB is a logarithmic scale. 1/100 is -20dB so 97dB – 20dB = 77dB. Purdue says a passenger car at 65 mph at 25 ft (77 dB).


  4. “Joby also claims the aircraft is 100 times quieter than a conventional aircraft.”
    That’s one of those twisted syntactic constructions – like “twice as small” – that defy reason.
    If we translate it to mean “1/100th as noisy,” it makes sense – but defies credibility.
    But success in sales rarely relies upon credibility.
    I look forward to seeing their further developments.

  5. I am documenting my prediction here for posterity:

    #1, they will not sell this 6-rotor aircraft for an average price of $650k or less, and

    #2, they will not have anything certified or generating revenue by the end of 2024.

    If one were to take a survey of every new aircraft company in the last 30 years that has made such claims at this stage of their development, none of them even came close to their projected price target or first-sale predictions. There is nothing about this company that convinces me they will make their projections.

  6. With those stats it’s a breakthrough! It checks off all the boxes for cheap, quiet, renewable, fast, good range, good capacity, autonomous urban mobility AND will delivered in just a few years! Congratulations!

    • Unfortunately, I think “projections” is a better description than “statistics”. Still, each of these projects does add to the sum total of knowledge, so if the energy density problem is ever solved producing E-VTOL aircraft that actually have some practical use will be a snap.

      • Battery energy density is the heart of the design. Obviously they figured that one out. Right?

  7. My prediction, assuming it will actually reach commercial production, is that: Instead of costing $650 K to build and producing $2.2 million in revenue, it will cost $2.2 million to build and produce $650 thousand in revenue.

  8. Always the enthusiast and especially for aviation, the foregoing leaves me just a little skeptical. Having recently walked past the remaining vestiges of the Diamond Jet, and having walked through the Epic at Oshkosh in 2006 on the way to the Cessna NG exhibit beside the 162 LSA project and now waiting forever on the Denali … We will place a naked short order on this 6.6B SPAC the day it hits the NYSE and hope to lose money.