California-based Joby Aviation has reached a milestone in its aim to launch passenger-carrying services in the U.S. The company announced on May 26 that it has received its Part 135 air carrier certificate from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The certification gives Joby the greenlight to operate aircraft commercially, allowing the company to test its air taxi operations using a conventional fixed-wing aircraft until its five-seat eVTOL receives type certification.
The company said by using a conventional aircraft first, it will allow Joby to refine its ridesharing systems and procedures in advance of launching eVTOL services in 2024.
“The procedures we’ve prepared lay a foundation for our future eVTOL operations,” said Bonny Simi, head of air operations and people at Joby and one of the company’s FAA-approved pilots, in a press release. “Over the coming months, we will use our Part 135 certificate to exercise the operations and customer technology platforms that will underpin our multimodal ridesharing service, while also refining our procedures to ensure seamless journeys for our customers.”
The company said it received its Part 135 certification ahead of its original schedule. The five-stage process included submitting more than 850 pages of manuals for approval, and required Joby’s initial group of pilots to demonstrate that they could carry out the company’s procedures and training under FAA observation. The eVTOL developer had initially expected to receive approvals later this year.
Along with the air carrier certification, Joby will need to receive its type and production certifications before operating air taxi services using its eVTOL aircraft.
Joby is targeting type certification in 2023, reaffirming that plan during a recent first quarter earnings call where the company told shareholders that recent FAA decisions regarding fixed-wing eVTOL aircraft certification wouldn’t impact its timeline.
With type certification in hand, Joby said it will then complete the FAA review process to add the new aircraft type to its existing air carrier certificate.
Joby is developing a four-passenger eVTOL aircraft with a targeted range of 150 miles (241 kilometers) on a single charge, and speeds of up to 200 miles per hour (322 kilometers per hour).
The company said according to results from recent acoustic testing conducted with NASA, its aircraft met Joby’s targets for low noise emissions during take-off, landing and overhead flight, making the aircraft quiet enough to operate in urban environments.
To help train future commercially-rated pilots to fly its eVTOL, Joby recently partnered with CAE to develop and qualify flight simulation training devices