Joby Aviation announced on Tuesday that it is one step closer to receiving its Part 135 air carrier certificate from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to prepare and test its air taxi operations using a conventional fixed-wing aircraft until its S4 eVTOL is certified.
“Our aspiration is to not just build and certify a revolutionary aircraft, but to operate a commercial passenger service that saves people time with minimal impact on the environment,” said Bonny Simi, head of air operations and people at Joby, in a press release. “Achieving a Part 135 certification unlocks the ability to do that, and we’re moving through the process ahead of schedule.”
Joby previously named a Cirrus aircraft as the model the company will likely use in its conventional fixed-wing air taxi operations. Once the S4 eVTOL is certified, Joby plans to add that aircraft to its Part 135 certificate, which a company spokesperson said “generally doesn’t take as long … as it does to receive the initial certificate.”
The company said after filing its initial application for a Part 135 certificate in June 2021, it completed its second stage two months later, which included submitting a complete package of manuals to the agency. During the third and fourth stages of this process, aerospace companies can expect the FAA to review and approve the manuals, and observe the company performing operations to ensure full regulatory compliance.
Joby said it has now reached the fourth stage as of last week, when FAA representatives started observing the company’s pilot instructors demonstrate training and operational procedures using the company’s manuals and training program, which Joby began bolstering through its partnership with CAE.
The California-based eVTOL developer said it expects to complete the fifth stage and receive its Part 135 certificate later this year. A spokesperson told eVTOL.com that the company is still firming up the date for when initial operations with the conventional aircraft will begin.
As an eVTOL company that plans to not only manufacture but also operate its own aircraft, Joby has been working toward receiving its Part 135 air carrier certificate in parallel with the type and production certifications for its eVTOL aircraft. Joby was the first eVTOL developer to sign a G-1 stage 4 certification basis with the FAA, after received its initial stage 2 signed G-1 in 2019. The company began conformity testing for FAA credit last month.
While it is still unclear how Joby’s February accident will impact its certification timeline, the company has previously said it is aiming to receive type certification next year and begin operations in 2024.
This article has been updated to clarify that the Part 135 air carrier certificate is not for Joby’s S4 eVTOL aircraft. The certificate is for a conventional fixed-wing aircraft that Joby plans to use to test its airline operations before its eVTOL is certified for commercial use.