FAA does not flinch when Innovators complain
The key to moving disruptive technology through the regulatory process is positive expertise
Joby Aviation gets it and seeing progress in TC and P135 applications
Entrepreneurial innovation and Aviation Safety Regulation do not share timescales for processing, awareness of costs from delays and sometimes even sensitivity to risks. The early months of UASs/Drones entering the FAA had a number of hiccups due to this dissonance.
The two below articles demonstrate how disruptive technology SHOULD be brought to the Regulator. Joby Aviation sees the opportunity to include both development of an eVTOL and operating their aircraft under Part 135.
The company’s proactive approach to meeting safety standards is shown in quotes like these:
- “The safety of modern aircraft owe much to rigorous, well-defined and repeatable development and verification processes,”
- “..Joby agreed to a “G-1” aircraft certification basis with the FAA, in line with existing Part 23 requirements for normal category airplanes, with special conditions introduced to address requirements specific to Joby’s unique aircraft.”
- Founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt remarked, “With two aircraft flying at the same time, we’ll be able to increase the speed of our learnings as planned, while continuing to fulfill the requirements of our Agility Prime contract.”
- “While we still have several years of aircraft testing ahead of us, we now have a clearly defined, and achievable, path to certifying our aircraft and introducing customer flights,” says Joby founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt. “Reaching this milestone is a watershed moment for our new industry and I’m tremendously grateful for the many years of hard work the FAA and our in-house aviation safety experts have put into getting us to this point.”
- “We are incredibly excited to welcome Dan[Elwell] to our Advisory Board at this exciting time for Joby Aviation,” said JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby Aviation. “Dan brings a rare combination of in-the-air, public policy and corporate expertise, gained over decades of working in both the government and private sector. His unique perspective, and the insight he can offer around aircraft certification and airline operations, will be invaluable to Joby as we move towards introducing our service in 2024.
- “I was very impressed by Joby’s approach to the certification of its aircraft long before I started working with them,” Dan Elwell said. “The thought that has gone into the design of this aircraft — the simplicity of the design, the ease of operation — all those things give me great comfort in working with them.”
The Joby regulatory team brings impressive experience in meeting/exceeding the FARs; unlike the many UAS entrepreneurs, this group of aviation safety professionals are addressing the people and certification positively, even anticipating the next tasks in process.
Add to this theme of Aircraft TC/PC/AWC, the manufacturer of these eVTOLs has filed for and is moving on the operations side. As explained below, the California Company is on its way to a Part135 ticket
Aviation is experiencing great innovation and much of the advances come from entities outside aeronautical development or aircraft operations. The entrepreneurial drive is needed to bring these ideas to the market, but those entering the FAA regulatory approvals would be well advised to study JoeBen Bevirt’ s selection of his executive team.
The California-based eVTOL developer announced Friday it has received approval from the FAA of its first systems review and compliance review.
The approvals provide Joby with a thumbs up from regulators regarding Joby’s “development approach, preliminary production design, and defined path toward certification,” the company said in a statement.
Systems involved in the FAA review included controls for flight, propulsion, and battery management. The compliance review assessed how Joby is developing and verifying its aerospace-grade software and airborne electronic hardware.
Joby is among a handful of eVTOL developers currently test-flying full-sized prototypes of small, electric aircraft that can takeoff and land vertically and fly horizontally. The company has been flying full-sized prototypes since 2017 and completed more than 1,000 test flights of its five-seat, tilt-rotor aircraft. Joby’s eVTOL is expected to enter service in 2024.
“The safety of modern aircraft owe much to rigorous, well-defined and repeatable development and verification processes,” said Joby’s development assurance lead Tom Ferrell in a statement. “Successfully completing our first system review and compliance review demonstrates that Joby’s engineering practices are maturing to a level where they can be applied for the most demanding safety-critical development while producing all the required certification data to prove our design to one of the world’s toughest and most respected regulators.
“We will now proceed to the second round of reviews, which focus on the outputs of Joby’s development process, including validation of certification requirements, design capture, and implementation of that design in both hardware and software,” Ferrell said.
The announcement comes days after Joby announced it had finished its initial series of FAA conformity tests. The tests are designed to confirm the strength of the composite materials that are used to construct the aircraft’s aerostructure.
Anticipating pilot training Bevirt signs a simulator agreement with CAE
Joby says that achieving this goal will make it the first airline with electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. The Part 135 certificate will allow Joby to operate its S4 eVTOL as an air taxi service in cities and communities around the United States. Full Part 135 certification is expected to be completed in 2022.
Joby says it expects the S4 to receive its type certificate in 2023, but until then the company plans to operate traditional, certified aircraft under its Part 135 certificate.
After completing the initial stage, Joby says that it will embark on the next step in the Part 135 certification process in August, with the submission of additional application materials, including a full complement of airline operating manuals. After those are approved, the FAA will visit Joby locations to observe training sessions and witness flight operations before issuing final approval. When the Joby eVTOL aircraft is certified, it will be added to the Part 135 certificate. Air taxi operations using Joby’s eVTOL are planned to begin in 2024.
In 2020, Joby agreed to a “G-1” aircraft certification basis with the FAA, in line with existing Part 23 requirements for normal category airplanes, with special conditions introduced to address requirements specific to Joby’s unique aircraft. Under this approach, Joby will employ commercial airline pilots certificated under existing FAA regulations to fly in its passenger service.
The Part 135 process is led by Joby Head of Air Operations Bonny Simi, an aviation executive who held key operational and strategic positions at JetBlue Airways.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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