Japan has OK’d a type certificate program for the Skydrive crewed octocopter and the company says it plans to have an air taxi service using a larger aircraft by 2025. It’s the first type certificate application for a so-called “flying car” and was issued for the SD-03. The project is backed by Toyota. It’s a single-seat vehicle that looks like a cross between a drone and a helicopter. It can go 30 MPH and only flies for about 10 minutes. It’s a stepping stone to bigger things, said SkyDrive CEO Tomohiro Fukuzawa.

“We are very pleased that our application for type certification has been accepted and we will continue to work in close partnership with the government and MLIT to complete our development of a wholly safe and reliable flying car,” Fukuzawa said in a statement. The air taxi service will operate in the densely populated Osaka Bay area. The company already operates a commercial drone service that flies payloads of up to 75 pounds to remote worksites in mountainous areas.

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. Well Toyota, congratulations on your interesting tech demo. I’ll be following developments from my retirement home on Mars, where I expect to be by 2025.

  2. One Small Problem with this story: according to the company’s own website, the Japanese Transportation Ministry MLIT only ACCEPTED THEIR APPLICATION for a type certificate on Nov. 1, 2021


    For those of you new to aviation, there is a TINY difference between starting an application for a type certificate and actually being issued one. Usually this small, meaningless difference involves countless years and millions and millions of dollars even for a mature technology using an existing, well defined certification basis.

    The Honda Jet took 19 years from inception to certification and cost Honda an estimated one billion dollars. This was certified under an existing reg structure that is well defined and understood, and Honda is without a doubt one of the best engineering and manufacturing organizations in the world.

    This Skydrive project has now accomplished Step 0 of the certification process, but for some reason folks at Avweb keep reading these Press Releases of non-existent milestones for all of these vaporware vehicles and then writing these gushing stories that somehow we are going to be flying like the Jetsons in the next 3 or 4 years.
    So I wish these folks all the best, but Avweb, can we PLEASE stop with these insanely optimistic projections. I know they get clicks, but please, I’m begging, just say no to this nonsense.

    • Carl,
      Could you read your post again? I see why you find the reports frustrating, but when I read that, I’m not concerned with the PR and journalists. I want to strangle a regulator and berate the manufacturers for supporting the stupidity.

      These two groups have a great deal going. The regulators get the public to give them cushy, low risk jobs. Then, to get better careers and avoid risk even more, they expand and expand everything they can to reduce risk to them greatly while stifling innovation and freedom unnecessarily. The manufacturers go along because it it counterintuitively reduces their own risks and further entrenches them.

      We all pay triple while being limited to state of the art goods circa 50 years ago.

      That’s what I call frustrating.

    • Good catch, Carl. I’m disappointed in AvWeb’s editing of this story and headline. They used a headline “Type Certificate App Approved”, and they can point to the word “App” to indicate “just the application, not the certification”, but to my mind the word “approved” should have been “accepted”. They used a lead sentence, “Japan has OK’d a type certificate program”, and they can point to the word “program” to indicate “the start of countless years and millions and millions of dollars”, but to my mind the word “OK’d” nullifies that caution, and connotes final acceptance. Please do better, AvWeb editors.

      • Actually, the original Avweb article says a type certificate was AWARDED, but unfortunately instead of issuing a correction, Avweb just completely REWROTE the article but did not follow the basic journalistic principal of pointing out their error or identifying to readers what corrections they made.
        [You can see the original inaccurate headline and story in the Google cache at
        https://tinyurl.com/m5ukc9jp ]

        The original article says several times there was a type certificate actually issued. According to Google cache, this article originally read:

        “Type Certificate Issued For Japanese ‘Flying Car’
        By Russ Niles -November 8, 20211
        Japan has issued a type certificate for the Skydrive crewed octocopter and the company says it plans to have an air taxi service using a larger aircraft by 2025. It’s the first type certificate for a so-called “flying car” and was issued for the SD-03. “…

        This of course is NOT true. I am not sure if Avweb “borrows” their reporting from iffy sources, but today there are many many other sites saying the same, wrong info:


        BUT unlike all those hacks who just regurgitate press releases, the fine folks at Avweb should have known better. Russ et al. are smart folks. Did we really think Japan is certifying a aircraft with a 10 minute range?

        • Blame me. I didn’t rewrite the story, I just corrected it to reflect the application approval. I should have noted it was a correction.