In a first for the US air taxi segment, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued final airworthiness criteria for Joby Aviation’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. 

“These final airworthiness criteria announce the applicable regulations and other airworthiness criteria developed… for type certification of the Model JAS4-1 powered-lift,” the FAA said in a 7 March ruling. 

Joby says that “today’s publication confirms our expectation that no design changes are required to our aircraft”. 

In addition to marking a milestone in the company’s pursuit of type certification, the FAA’s issuance also paves the way for eVTOL developers intending to follow Joby’s lead. 

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Source: Joby Aviation

Joby has received final airworthiness criteria from the FAA for type certification of its electric air taxi 

Joby’s all-electric aircraft – called the JAS4-1 – has a maximum gross take-off weight of 2,404kg (5,300lb). It features six tilting rotors on a conventional wing, plus a V-tail. The airframe and propellers are made of composite materials. 

It is designed to carry one pilot and four passengers, and is envisioned for both commercial air taxi and defence missions. 

The FAA is classifying eVTOLs as powered-lift vehicles and requires special airworthiness criteria for each model being certificated. 

”The Model JAS4–1 powered-lift has characteristics of both a rotorcraft and an airplane,” the FAA says. ”It is designed to function as a rotorcraft for take-off and landing, and as an airplane cruising at speeds higher than a rotorcraft during the en-route portion of flight operations.”

”The electric engines on the Model JAS4–1 powered-lift will use electrical power instead of air and fuel combustion to propel the aircraft through six five-bladed composite variable-pitch propellers,” it adds. 

The final airworthiness criteria include “requirements to address various scenarios involving failures that can lead to loss of thrust”, the FAA says. 

”Expectations were added for the aircraft to be capable of a controlled emergency landing following any condition where the aircraft can no longer provide the commanded power or thrust required for continued safe flight and landing.” 

Joby first applied for type certification in November 2018, and filed for an extension after it had not been awarded during a three-year time limit. The extension was approved and “the date of the updated type certification basis is 14 June 2022”. 

Joby recently completed the third part of the FAA’s five-stage type certification process, and has begun a for-certification flight-testing programme. 

”We can confirm that the additional documentation requirements flowing from the G-1 amendments do not impact our ability to continue delivering on the for-credit testing work required in this stage,” the start-up says. 


Santa Cruz-based Joby also recently acquired a facility at Ohio’s Dayton International airport, where it plans to begin initial manufacturing of its eVTOL aircraft later this year. 

The start-up will use the facility to manufacture aircraft components to support its pilot production facility in Marina, California, it said on 5 March. 

Later, the company intends to design and construct a larger facility in Dayton that it claims will eventually be capable of producing up to 500 aircraft annually. 

“We’re pleased to be able to acquire an underutilised facility at Dayton International Airport and re-purpose it as a modern, high-tech manufacturing centre to serve as our initial manufacturing footprint in the region,” says Didier Papadopoulos, Joby’s president of aircraft OEM. 

”Later this year, we expect to begin subtractive manufacturing of titanium and aluminium aircraft parts as we continue to grow our workforce in Dayton,” he adds. 

This story has been edited to reflect an updated maximum gross take-off weight of Joby’s aircraft.