Dan Elwell, former deputy and acting director of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has joined the advisory board of Joby Aviation, the latest eVTOL developer to tap a high-ranking departed member of the agency as it works to certify and begin operations with its aircraft.
While serving in FAA leadership from 2017 to 2020, Elwell was responsible for the agency’s NextGen air traffic control modernization program. He also served in numerous other positions within the FAA and U.S. Department of Transportation following a 16-year career as a commercial pilot and government affairs specialist at American Airlines.
“JoeBen’s vision of saving a billion people an hour a day is going to change how we look at air travel,” said Elwell on the announcement, referring to Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt. “I’m excited to join such a dedicated and passionate team of aviators.”
Several former FAA directors and deputy directors have joined eVTOL companies as the various competitors look to secure experts and strong relationships. Former FAA administrator Michael Huerta is now a senior advisor at Kitty Hawk and former deputy administrator Michael Whitaker is head of global policy for Hyundai’s urban air mobility division.
“We are incredibly excited to welcome Dan to our Advisory Board at this exciting time for Joby Aviation,” said Bevirt. “Dan brings a rare combination of in-the-air, public policy and corporate expertise, gained over decades of working in both the government and private sector. His unique perspective, and the insight he can offer around aircraft certification and airline operations, will be invaluable to Joby as we move towards introducing our service in 2024.”
No other members of Joby Aviation’s advisory board have been announced at this time, though the company is understood to be in discussions with a range of other potential members. Joby plans to merge with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Reinvent Technology Partners (RTP) in a deal that provides the eVTOL developer with $1.6 billion in gross proceeds to bring its aircraft to market.
Palo Alto-based Archer, which also plans a SPAC merger with Atlas Crest Investment Corp (ACIC), recently added Uber Elevate co-founders Mark Moore and Nikhil Goel to its advisory board, declining to reveal other members at this time.