Joby completes the first eVTOL aircraft for the Air Force ahead of schedule

Joby Aviation, a firm building electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for commercial passenger service, said that it has delivered its first aircraft to Edwards Air Force Base six months ahead of the planned delivery date of 2024. Joby aircraft will be used for on-base operations to demonstrate a variety of logistics roles, including freight and passenger transportation, and will be flown by both Joby and US Air Force personnel. NASA will also use the aircraft for research focusing on how these aircraft could fit into the national airspace, benefiting the entire air taxi industry in collaboration with the US Air Force. Joby’s aircraft, which has already begun flying at Edwards AFB, is the first electric air taxi to be stationed on a United States military post and is considered to be the first delivery of an electric air taxi in the United States, as part of Joby’s $131 million AFWERX Agility Prime contract with the United States Air Force. Joby’s current and previous work with the Department of Defence totals $163 million in potential contract value, the most in the business. The Agility Prime contract calls for the furnishing of up to nine aircraft to the United States Air Force and other federal agencies, reaffirming the United States government’s sustained leadership in developing and implementing eVTOL technology and ushering in a new era of electric aviation. A second aircraft is scheduled to arrive at Edwards in early 2024.

The aircraft, which was the first to be built on Joby’s Pilot Production Line in Marina, California, will be stationed at Edwards Air Force Base for at least a year, with charging and ground support equipment provided by Joby on-site in a facility purpose-built by the Air Force for joint flight test operations. To show the aircraft’s capabilities in actual mission circumstances, the US Air Force and Joby will perform cooperative flight testing and operations. On-base operations will also include the training of Air Force pilots and aircraft maintenance crews, giving the DOD valuable insight into the performance of eVTOL aircraft and providing Joby with on-the-ground operational and training experience as the company prepares to launch commercial passenger service in 2025. Joby’s relationship with the Department of Defence extends back to its 2016 collaboration with the Defence Innovation Unit (DIU), which provided the company with early funding as well as access to test ranges and expertise that benefited its aircraft development programme. NASA, in collaboration with the United States Air Force’s AFWERX programme, will also assist this testing at Edwards Air Force Base with pilots, researchers, and equipment as part of their commitment to promoting the Advanced Air Mobility business as a whole, for the benefit of all. The Armstrong Flight Research Centre, located at Edwards Air Force Base, has a long history of supporting significant technological achievements in aviation and space, including supersonic and hypersonic flight, digital fly-by-wire control systems, and space shuttles.



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