Joby Applies For UK eVTOL Certification

Credit: Joby Aviation

FARNBOROUGH—Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer Joby has formally applied for its five-seat S-4 air taxi vehicle to be certified for use in the UK, marking the first time a U.S. advanced air mobility (AAM) company has applied for international validation of its FAA type certificate.

The California-based manufacturer is currently working on type certification for its aircraft with the FAA and expects the U.S. to be its first operating market. The UK application will allow Joby’s U.S.-based certification to be concurrently validated by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, accelerating access to the British market.

Joby says its application builds on a joint statement by the FAA and CAA in March, announcing their intent to leverage the existing Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement between the two regulators to streamline the introduction of eVTOL aircraft using existing regulatory frameworks. In March, Joby also joined the UK ADS Group trade association and has been working with the National Air Traffic Service to explore the integration of Joby services into UK airspace.

The FAA recently announced plans to change how it type-certifies eVTOL vehicles, classifying them as powered-lift aircraft. This will require new operating rules, but the agency has said it does not expect the shift to delay certification or operation for any of the existing applicants, such as Joby.

Joby has, however, been forced to revise G-1 issue papers with the FAA agreeing on Part 23 plus special conditions as the certification basis for its aircraft. The earlier approval had to be redrafted following the FAA’s decision to recategorize winged eVTOLs as powered-lift aircraft and not airplanes. Joby sources say the revised G-1 approval is expected within weeks.

Guy Norris

Guy is a Senior Editor for Aviation Week, covering technology and propulsion. He is based in Colorado Springs.