Entrepreneurs and Innovators are not well suited for Regulators
JoeBen Bevirt and Joby Aviation see the Administrative Horizon
Perspicacity in People Planning and Partnerships
Joby Aviation announced a new program (see below) which signals its perspicacious perspective to moving their AAM vision to an FAA approved reality in all dimensions.
Entrepreneurs and Innovators, based on recent history, tend to have problems dealing with regulators. The speed of their developments usually do not match the administrative timelines. For example, the first wave of UAS executives were used to aggressive tactics in moving their work through local approvals; the tactics did not work well in Washington.
To compound this institutional schedule differential, the implementation of full AAM operations requires multiple steps- state and local legislation/regulation/compliance, infrastructure (energy sources, terminals, low level ATC, repair/maintenance) and qualified professional cadre (pilots, dispatchers, MX, ground, WX and management).
Joby appears to have been aware of and planning for all of these necessary predicates. Its vision is in focus of both the grand mission and the essential details. Why?
People: the founder JoeBen Bevirt has a BS and MS in mechanical engineering plus he has honed those skills in 30 years of related work. Folks, whose talents are demonstrated/measured on finite X/Y axes graphs, are not always gifted in the grayer arena of management. Bevirt, however, has a record of Culture Creation, Vision, Product Design, Electromechanical Systems Engineering, Sales and Tech Investing.
Another element of the Joby strength is its management team, all of whom have the right resumes to advance the company’s mission. These two individuals demonstrate the excellence of this group:
Its Board incorporates all of the high level perspectives needed for defining the corporate strategies (finance, operation, start-up strategies, engineering, legal). Bevirt wisely added to Joby’s advisory Board two extraordinary talents who understand the regulatory environment from 30,000’ and know the granular details that move projects through inboxes and outboxes-without ruffling bureaucratic feathers—Dan Elwell(FAA Deputy and Acting Administrator ) and Paul Rinaldi (NATCA President from 2009-2021)
PLANNING and PARTNERSHIPs-Patience is hard to maintain when an endeavor is excited by its future, but Bevirt’s discipline is most evident. “A small team of seven engineers worked out of ‘The Barn,” a workshop in the mountains above Santa Cruz. The frontiers of technologies like electric motors, flight software, and lithium-ion batteries — were explored and the team engineered almost every component from the ground up. Putting such time, effort and expense into the conceptualization of the eVTOL prototype was a solid investment in the future. Test flights with subscale and full demonstrators transferred the theory into practical proofs.
Joby has magnified its resources with partnerships with NASA, the US Air Force, Toyota and Uber. Their perspectives adds to the corporate competence.
Here are some further examples of the Joby broad scope of efforts:
- Joby Increases Flight Test Capacity in Support of FAA Certification Goal
- Joby Aviation, JetBlue and Signature Announce Pathway to Utilization of Electric and Hydrogen Aviation Credits
- Joby Completes Acquisition of Radar Developer Inras GmbH
- Joby touts a 10,000 flight cycle eVTOL battery. Can it deliver?
- Joby and NASA Collaborate to Measure Noise Footprint of Electric Air Taxi
California-based eVTOL developer says employee ground school is a ‘beta test’ for broader programs.
January 11, 2022
The California-based company, which has been flying full-sized prototype aircraft since 2017, made the announcement on its Twitter account Monday.
“Today marks the start of classes at Joby Aviation Academy,” the tweet reads. “More than 400 Joby employees and family members signed up for our first course: Private Ground School.”
In an email Tuesday, Joby revealed additional details behind the tweet.
“This ground school is specific to Joby employees and their families to educate them about the wonders of flight,” said a company spokesperson.
The program doesn’t offer any instruction specifically for eVTOL aircraft—only for conventional private pilot ground training.
“It is a beta test of broader programs we will launch in the future,” Joby said. “At a later date, we will offer flight school for external students interested in becoming Joby pilots.”
In a tweet posted January 5, Archer co-CEO and co-founder Brett Adcock said, “I started to better educate myself on the airspace and piloted operations. Flying [a] Cessna 172 at the Palo Alto airport.”
Both Archer and Joby—along with other eVTOL developers—intend to operate airlines in addition to manufacturing eVTOLs. Obviously, this means they’ll need pilots—perhaps thousands of them.
According to investor materials, Joby, which is backed by Uber, envisions flying more than 300 eVTOLs in the Los Angeles market alone. A Morgan Stanley projection last year estimated Joby might produce and fly as many as 14,000 aircraft if the company reaches its full potential in a best-case scenario.
Joby Head of Government Affairs Greg Bowles suggested that a Joby “pilot academy” would help ease future challenges that might be created by pilot shortages. The Joby business model is based on the idea of tapping into an existing pool of pilots who are trained to fly conventional airplanes.
“At Joby, we had certification, pilot training, and operations in mind from the very beginning,” Bowles said.
Joby’s new classes are currently operating as an online ground school under Part 61, according to a company spokesperson. Eventually, Joby plans to offer more structured instruction under Part 141 regulations for flight training institutions and flight schools, “using a similar syllabus we developed.”
Joby’s Goal: A Part 135 Airline
Joby also intends to operate as an airline under Part 135. Bowles said the company intends to draw pilots who have reached a specific sweet spot as they build flight hours between flying for companies operating under Part 135 and Part 121.
“Our Part 135 service will require a minimum of 500-hour commercial airline pilots,” Bowles said. “The Part 121 airline environment requires an [airline transport pilot certificate], which [generally has a 1,500-hour minimum flight time requirement]. So, there’s a good number of pilots between 500 and 1,500 hours that fly for traditional Part 135 operators. So that’s a great location and a lot of us folks end up doing flight instruction to build time.”
Joby is designing its production eVTOL “to be flown in today’s system with the ability to adapt to evolve into the future system,” Bowles said. “We designed our aircraft to be certified as an airplane.”
Bowles said Joby’s aircraft fits into Part 23 airworthiness standards from a size, scale, and weight perspective.
“We can glide on the wing. We can takeoff and land from runways, like a conventional airplane. We have airplane-like pilot controls and we’ve designed our aircraft to meet all the structural and performance requirements of an airplane,” Bowles said.
Thom is a staff reporter for FLYING and Modern FLYING. Previously, his freelance reporting appeared in aviation industry magazines. Thom also spent three decades as a TV and digital journalist at CNN’s bureaus in Washington and Atlanta, eventually specializing in aviation. He has reported from air shows in Oshkosh, Farnborough and Paris.
Share this article: