Joby Aviation has begun the final assembly of what is believed to be the world’s first company-conforming electric, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
The aircraft, which is the first to be produced at Joby’s pilot manufacturing facility in Marina, California, has been manufactured in accordance with a released design and built according to a complete implementation of a quality management system, qualifying it as a company-conforming aircraft – an important step on the path to achieving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type certification required to begin commercial passenger operations.
Having built the major aerostructures of the aircraft – the wing, tail, and fuselage – Joby is now beginning the process of mating the structures together and installing the wiring, electronics, actuation, and propulsion systems on its pilot production line. Joby expects the aircraft to begin flight testing in the first half of 2023.
“Beginning final assembly of our first company-conforming aircraft is a critical achievement for Joby and a landmark for the wider eVTOL industry,” said Didier Papadopoulos, Head of Aircraft OEM at Joby. “It unlocks the path ahead and allows us to exercise our quality management system in preparation for type certification and a subsequent production certification,” he added. “There is an incredible amount of work that goes into getting to this point and I’m very grateful for the energy and commitment of the team behind this achievement.”
Joby’s Quality Management System, matured over a number of years, includes tracking and documentation of every part on the aircraft, configuration management of engineering drawings, environmental conditions during fabrication, and actions taken by manufacturing technicians. The system is reviewed regularly by the FAA as part of the company’s preparation to receive a production certificate following the type certification of its eVTOL aircraft.
Concurrently with low-rate aircraft production in Marina, Joby is actively evaluating proposals from a number of U.S. states to support the construction of the company’s Phase 1 production facility.