Joby Aviation, an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxi manufacturer, has completed what it describes as a key step toward type certification of its flagship design.
Joby on Thursday announced it received Part 145 Repair Station certification from the FAA, which will allow it to perform select maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services on its air taxi and conduct full MRO operations following type certification.
“Receiving our Part 145 certificate from the FAA is an important step towards developing the needed maintenance, repair, and overhaul services to support Joby’s commercial flight operations, as well as establishing career pipelines for people who want to become eVTOL aircraft technicians,” said Bonny Simi, president of operations at Joby.
Joby competitor Archer Aviation announced it obtained its own Part 145 certificate on the same day. The former claims to be the first company to receive the approval, which if true would mean both firms are among the initial recipients.
Joby is seeking type certification of its air taxi before its intended commercial launch in 2025 in partnership with Delta Air Lines. Unlike competitors such as Archer, it plans to operate the aircraft itself.
“This approval marks another foundational piece of Joby’s vertically integrated strategy, including aircraft development, manufacturing, charging systems, commercial flight operations, and now maintenance operations, as we prepare to bring our revolutionary eVTOL aircraft to market,” said Simi.
Joby’s zero-emission design is built to fly a pilot and up to four passengers on 100 sm (87 nm) trips at cruise speeds as fast as 200 mph (174 knots). The company says the aircraft will produce a “fraction” of the noise emitted by helicopters, claiming it will be barely audible amongst city soundscapes.
The manufacturer will begin by performing select airframe, radio, and instrument repairs on traditional aircraft. It also intends to offer paid on-the-job training to prospective technicians. In 2022, for example, Joby partnered with Aviation High School in Queens, New York, to develop local talent and introduce students to course materials on electric propulsion systems. The company says this will help prepare the initial cohort of eVTOL pilots.
Following these initial operations, Joby plans to expand its MRO services in the coming months and beyond. The services will be a crucial component of the company’s operational ecosystem, allowing it to keep its air taxis cruising (or hovering) for as long as possible.