One down and two to go for Joby Aviation.
The Bay Area-based air taxi startup announced on Thursday that it received its Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to book a trip on one of its air taxis just yet, but that day is getting closer.
While the news represents a major milestone for the company, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. Joby can now officially begin operating its air taxi service, but it still needs to receive two other FAA certificates before it can legally carry passengers. The startup will earn a Type certificate when its eVTOL meets the agency’s design and safety standards and a Production certificate when it’s finally ready to start building the aircraft. The company can begin carrying passengers only after those two regulatory hurdles have been cleared.
That gives Joby time to further refine its six-rotor air taxi. The S4, as its currently called, set an eVTOL speed record when it was clocked flying 205 mph in January. This came less than a half year after it flew 154.1 miles on a single charge, another benchmark. It hasn’t been all roses for Joby and its aircraft, though. In February, the S4 crashed during a test flight in rural California. Fortunately, no one was hurt as the aircraft was being piloted remotely.
“The procedures we’ve prepared lay a foundation for our future eVTOL operations,” Bonny Simi, Joby’s head of air operations and people, said in a statement. “Over the coming months, we will use our Part 135 certificate to exercise the operations and customer technology platforms that will underpin our multi-modal ridesharing service, while also refining our procedures to ensure seamless journeys for our customers.”
Joby also revealed that it had been hoping to receive its Part 135 certification during the second half of 2022, which suggests the company may be ahead of schedule right now. If so, the startups’s targeted launch date of 2024 could be within reach.