Joby Aviation has transferred its prototype eVTOL aircraft from Santa Cruz, California, to an approved location for expansion of the flight test program, a company spokesperson confirmed to eVTOL.com.
Santa Cruz Sentinel photographer Shmuel Thaler captured the aircraft “in flight” on Tuesday as it was slung beneath a Bell 205A-1 helicopter operated by HeliStream Aviation.
Joby described the continuation of the flight test program as “a very exciting milestone for the air taxi market,” but declined to provide further details at this time.
Joby’s prototype is the second eVTOL aircraft to have recently gotten a helicopter ride to its official testing site. On June 12, Beta Technologies’ Alia was airlifted from the company’s headquarters in Burlington, Vermont, to Plattsburgh, New York, beneath a Helicarrier Sikorsky S-61N.
Beta and Joby are frontrunners in the race to develop and certify eVTOL aircraft. Beta plans to use Alia initially to transport human organs for launch customer United Therapeutics. Meanwhile, Joby — an Uber Elevate partner with substantial backing from Toyota Motor Corp. — is squarely targeting the urban air mobility market with its five-seat air taxi.
However, both also recently advanced in the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime “air race to certification,” which seeks to promote development of the U.S. commercial eVTOL industry by leveraging Air Force resources and early use cases. In late May, the Air Force said it expected to progress to airworthiness assessments and flight tests with Beta and Joby “this year.”