Joby Wraps Up Second Stage Of FAA Certification Process


Joby Aviation announced on Thursday that it has essentially finished the second of five stages required by the FAA to type certify its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. According to Joby, it is the first eVTOL company to complete this step, which lays out the means of compliance with the certification basis established in the prior stage. The FAA has currently accepted 94 percent of Joby’s means of compliance with the company noting that “it is typical for a small portion … to remain open to allow for further collaboration on minor design changes and improvements that may occur later in the certification process.”

“Certification is an integral part of everything that an aerospace company does and with the achievement of this critical milestone, we’re now able to confidently focus our efforts on closing the remaining certification plans and completing the testing required to certify our aircraft,” said Didier Papadopoulos, Joby head of aircraft OEM. “We’re grateful for the FAA’s dedication to the safe introduction of eVTOL technology and their commitment to supporting continued US leadership in this sector.”

Joby says it has also submitted four area-specific certification plans (ASCPs) and its first equipment-level qualification test plan as part of the third stage of the certification process. The company’s eVTOL design is expected to seat a pilot and four passengers, offer a top speed of 200 MPH and have a maximum single-charge range of 150 miles. Joby, which received its Part 135 air carrier certificate in May 2022, is aiming to launch commercial passenger service by 2025. 

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Currently trading at $4.22 $JOBY stock is a screaming “buy” right here. Every company in the EV biz from $TSLA to GM and Ford will wish they had acquired $JOBY at these levels.

  2. Is there any fantasy press release from these guys that doesn’t get pasted into a “news” story? Since when are there Five Stages required to certify an aircraft? I’m looking at FSIMS, 14 CFR, and the index of ACs and don’t see The Five Stages.

    For every aircraft category (except powered lift), you and I and every other human on this blue marble can automatically reach Joby’s supposed second stage certification accomplishment in three seconds by googling the eCFR.
    However for a powered lift aircraft which eVTOL got put in last year, unlike every other aircraft, there is NO established regulatory framework for approval, nor is there one for e-powerplants, so there is no path to get certified that’s written down. So before you can get STARTED on your certification project, you’d have to propose to FAA alternative means of compliance for certification and get FAA to agree to the ground rules.

    Once you get FAA to agree on your basis of certification, you can then GET STARTED on your certification project. Joby is not even done with that yet, they are still working to agree with FAA on the RULES for certification. Knowing what your regulatory path is is NOT much of an an accomplishment. And they are not even done with that. If AvWeb readers had a nickel for every company that said they were “94% complete” with a stage of a project…

    There’s already very clear rules on certifying your very own version of a C172, R44, G650, 787, or even Concorde, but just having clear rules for certification does not make you the next Airbus, Cirrus, or Sikorsky. There’s dozens of companies that had crystal-clear certification paths that spent billions and got NOWHERE (today’s example: Mitsubishi)

    This is a major accomplishment in the same way that me downloading the IRS 1040 form instructions is me accomplishing doing my taxes. Or me reading the instructions for Form 1 on the FEC dot GOV site is a major accomplishment on my eventual path to be the President of the USA.

    “Certification is an integral part of everything that an aerospace company does…” Really, no kidding?
    “..and with the achievement of this critical milestone,…” Sorry, you did not achieve anything yet.
    “… we’re now able to confidently focus our efforts on closing the remaining certification plans and completing the testing required to certify our aircraft,” COMPLETING the testing??? I think we have the Understatement of the Year award right there!

    And their supposed Part 135 accomplishment is another non-event. According to today’s FAA data, their operating certificate is for exactly ONE SR-22 (reg. N827UR) in the Bay Area. They have blocked that plane’s ADS-B tracking so it’s not super-obvious that it just sits there, but crowdsourced feeds show it just flies a circle a few days a week back/forth from Salinas to San Carlos. That’s all it ever does. Looks like someone at Joby is using it to commute. Explain to me how that “valuable experience” of flying a piston at 4,000AGL of an aircraft in a different category for a couple hours a week has anything to do with eVTOL urban mobility.

    Did I mention that their aircraft is Powered Lift? (not an airplane, which everyone has heard of but no one can find pilots for). Have a look in the Airmen Registry on how many PL pilots exist. Hint: You can fit them all comfortably in their current Part 135 fleet.

  3. So at one end we have Marc G’s highly optimistic forecast and at the other end we have Carl. R’s assessment based on available data. I’ll refrain from commenting, but I am tempted!

    • So Rich after re-reading this column have you found any “available data” to supplement Carl’s “Opus of Doom” ?

  4. Bravo Carl R. for providing sanity in a world of breathless “press releases” of unproven demonstrated veracity and provenance.

    Not saying that these ideas shouldn’t be tried–only that they are better suited to “Mechanics Illustrated” type magazines (who have predicted “flying cars” and “atomic airplanes” for decades.)

    Let’s get on with “News you can (actually) USE”–not providing a platform for somebody’s unproven dream. I don’t believe the skies will be darkened with “electric-powered flying cars” within the lifetimes of most readers.

  5. “Joby is aiming to launch commercial passenger service by 2025.” So they are going to be legal and ready to commercially fly passengers in US airspace in less than two years? It is amazing how one of the most predictable comments for all these projects is the we are just a few months or years from being mainstream and commercial.

  6. The task of certifying aircraft is trecherous as Carl sets forth in his analysis. But there are other paths into the sky. In 2004 FAA approved a new aircraft type (LSA,ELSA/SLSA) certified to ASTM standards, not 14 CFR. And created an airman certificate and medical requirement with a new A&P/IA designation for LSA type. “EVTOL” is certainly candidate for a similar “fast route”. Consider also that $JOBY is a public company with an impressive board and ~3billion in market capitization. Losing money is quite low on the agenda. And consider support infrastructure – $JOBY has its own installed base of charging stations and full motion flight simulators to train $JOBY EVTOL pilots. $JOBY is supported by JobsOhio and other state organizations whose primary focus is job creation (side-effect -> GA rejuvenation). If $JOBY ultimately existed only to move packages between airports, supplement law enforcement and public safety and provide a charging grid it could still be a billion dollar company … but wait. It’s already a … hmm. Anyway, I’ve seen with my own A&P/IA eyes and I charged my Tesla on one of their stations with a provided adapter. Last note and confession – I was sufficiently nutty to have bought $TSLA stock a long time ago and still own it, so, mea culpa.