Joby Completes G-2 Means Of Compliance With FAA

FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen and Joby Head of Aircraft OEM Didier Papadopoulos watch Joby’s prototype S4 air taxi take off at Marina Airport, California, on Jan. 30.

Credit: Joby Aviation

Joby Aviation announced that it has effectively completed its G-2 Means of Compliance (MOC) approval process with the FAA, becoming the first electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle startup in the U.S. to complete the second phase of the five-stage aircraft certification process.

In the G-2 stage of the certification process, companies agree with the FAA on specific ways in which they will demonstrate compliance with the regulatory intent of the safety rules that were defined in the G-1 Certification Basis, which is the first stage of the process. Joby was also the first OEM to complete the G-1 stage when its certification basis was published in the Federal Register in November.

Aside from Joby, Archer Aviation is the only other U.S.-based company that has completed its G-1 Certification Basis with the FAA, and it also expects to have its G-2 MOC fully approved sometime in the second quarter of 2023.

While Joby has declared its MOC to be “essentially complete,” the company acknowledges that about 6% of the total workload remains ongoing. This is “typical for a small portion of the MOC to remain open to allow for further collaboration on minor design changes and improvements that may occur later in the certification process,” the company says. 

In the meantime, the Santa Cruz, California-based startup said it has already made “substantial progress” toward the third stage of the certification process—Certification Plans—during which companies must develop a wide range of detailed certification plans stipulating tests that need to be performed for various systems to satisfy the terms laid out in the MOC. To that end, Joby has already submitted its four areas-specific certification plans as well as its first equipment-level qualification test plan, allowing for-credit qualification testing to proceed. 

Joby also said it has made progress on the fourth stage of certification–Testing & Analysis–during which systems and equipment undergo thousands of inspections, tests and analyses in accordance with the certification plans drafted in the third stage. As part of Stage Four, the company said it has already completed its first for-credit conformity testing of a carbon composite material sample last year. 

The fifth and final stage of the certification process is “Show & Verify,” during which companies must submit the results of their testing and inspections to the FAA for verification. 

Commenting on the G-2 approvals, Joby’s Head of Aircraft OEM Didier Papadopoulos described the completion of Stage 2 as a “critical milestone” that allows the company to begin to “confidently focus our efforts on closing the remaining certification plans and completing the testing required to certify our aircraft.”

“Our focus is now shifting to the fun part of certification: the shaking, baking and breaking of every component and system onboard the aircraft to show that it does what it’s supposed to do in normal operation, and that it can tolerate every type of environment and failure mode identified in our certification basis,” Papadopoulos said in a video message accompanying the announcement. “Each one of these steps brings us closer to revolutionizing aviation by making flight quieter, more accessible and better for the planet.”

Ben Goldstein

Based in Washington, Ben covers Congress, regulatory agencies, the Departments of Justice and Transportation and lobby groups.