September 25, 2023
The first eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle was delivered to the Air Force at the Edwards Air Force Base in California this week.
The delivery from Joby Aviation, believed to be the first eVTOL taxi delivered in the U.S., is part of a $131 million contract between the Department of Defense (DoD) and Joby.
The partnership started seven years ago, with Joby receiving initial funding along with access to test ranges and aircraft development expertise.
“The longstanding support of the DoD and NASA has been critical to the rapid development of electric aviation and eVTOL aircraft and demonstrates how successful public-private partnerships can bring new technology to life at speed,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby. “Their work will have profound implications for continued American leadership in both commercial and defense aerospace technology.”
The electric aerial vehicle (EAV) delivered this week was built on Joby’s pilot production line in Marina, California, and now will be stationed at Edwards Air Force Base for at least a year.
Ground support equipment and charging are to be provided by Joby in an Air Force facility created for joint flight test operations.
NASA pilots, researchers and equipment also are expected to be involved via NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center located at Edwards Air Force Base.
“NASA’s participation in the Joby and AFWERX project will provide our researchers with hands-on experience with a representative eVTOL vehicle, concentrated on how these types of aircraft could fit into the national airspace for everyday use, that will inform NASA’s effort in supporting the entire eVTOL industry,” said NASA research pilot Wayne Ringelberg. “The research will include a focus on handling qualities evaluation tools, autonomy and airspace integration, which is all needed research to push the industry forward.”
The Joby eVTOL promises a range of up to 100 miles and speeds up to 200 mph with the ability to carry a pilot and four passengers.
Joby Aviation recently announced it would build a facility in Dayton, Ohio, to deliver up to 500 eVTOL vehicles a year.
Joby plans to invest up to $500 million in the new manufacturing facility, the foundation for a planned aerial ride-sharing network. Joby has partnerships with Uber and Delta Air Lines with financial backing from investors including Toyota.
In addition to air taxis, such as those coming from Joby and others, flying cars, vehicles designed to drive on roads and fly, are in the development and testing stages.
Major deliveries of ultralights, one-passenger EAVs that do not require a pilot license, are expected to be shipping around the world in 2014.
Read more about:Flying Cars
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