An electric plane capable of taking off and landing like a helicopter has received a US regulatory permit to begin test flights, paving the way for delivery to the US Air Force in 2024 and the possible start of a service of air taxi in 2025.
Built by California-based Joby Aviation, the plane is designed to take off and land like a helicopter while also being able to pitch its six rotors horizontally in forward flight to reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour (200 miles per hour). It could eventually carry a pilot and four passengers for commercial or US military operations.
“This production aircraft comes after flying three full-scale prototypes more than 1,000 times and thousands of miles in the last six years,” he says. mike hirschberg at the Vertical Flight Society in Virginia.
Despite interest from both the US military and investors, electric flying cars have often run into problems from both a technological and commercial standpoint. In 2022, prominent flying car company Kittyhawk, backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, went out of business after spending years trying to develop a cheap air taxi service.
The most recent permit issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration provides special approval for Joby to flight test its first production aircraft, following previous testing with demo aircraft and prototypes. Full regulatory certification that would allow Joby to begin charging passengers for commercial flights is still around 18 years old. in a few months, says Hirschberg.
Joby’s plane could eventually carry a pilot and four passengers as part of a commercial air-sharing service. The company’s website describes a scenario of moving people from the island of Manhattan in New York City to JFK International Airport in Queens, and it has partnered with Delta Air Lines on that possibility.
But Joby first plans to deliver his plane to Edwards Air Force Base in California by 2024. It’s part of a $131 million contract with the US Air Force. main agility program that has already enabled four Air Force pilots to train to fly the electric plane remotely from the ground.
Joby’s plane relies on electric batteries to power each of its six tiltrotors and has a flight range of up to 161 kilometers (100 miles). All-electric propulsion allows the aircraft to operate without carbon emissions in flight, although the overall carbon footprint depends on the sources of electricity used to charge the batteries.