According to FCC records uncovered, Joby Aviation is requesting approval for a series of high-profile air taxi flights over San Francisco Bay.
S4 pre-production prototype would be the first to be tested in public and in a city setting for the first time by the firm.
Two of San Francisco Bay’s most popular tourist attractions will be the focus of the planned San Francisco testing. Alcatraz Island is roughly midway between the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, whereas Alameda is located south of the Bay Bridge.
There is a possibility that a limited number of flights may be possible, according to Joby’s head of marketing, communications, and brand, Oliver Walker-Jones. In order to get the necessary permissions, we must first deal with various municipal and federal authorities. We have no definite plans at this time. The fact is that everything here is exhilarating.
After a year of record-breaking flights, including the world’s longest (155 miles) and fastest (205 mph) eVTOL flights, Joby now claims to TechCrunch that he has flown the highest eVTOL flights ever.
As Walker-Jones said, “We’ve lately done many trips over 7,000 feet” Near Santa Cruz, California, all of these flights took occurred over privately owned property and in secluded coastal regions.
No one will be aboard the S4 aircraft as it sets a new record for the longest nonstop flight in history. Instead, the experiments would be remotely controlled from adjacent ground control stations with clearance from the FCC, FAA, and local authorities.
Flights will take an hour on average, mostly over water, and reach altitudes of 5,000 feet or more, according to Joby. Walker-Jones told TechCrunch that the aircraft, which has a wing span of over 40 feet and can carry a payload of up to 4,400 pounds, would land, take off, and recharge on dry ground.
For the first time in the United States, Volocopter and eHang have performed demonstration eVTOL flights in Singapore, while Joby’s flights would be the first full-scale air taxi flights in an American city if they are allowed.
The declared purpose is to examine the radio technology used to pilot the full-size aircraft remotely. Joby’s ongoing attempts to secure FAA flight certification for new aircraft technologies it is developing, according to the FCC filing, include flight testing as a vital and required component.
For the business, whose stock has fallen by half since it went public in a $1.1 billion SPAC sale last summer, the dramatic public tests are certain to garner major media attention.
Walker-Jones said that the demonstration flight in that region was meant to test the radio. It’s also a good idea to demonstrate the technology in an urban setting so that people can see and understand how it fits into the places where it will ultimately function.”
An additional $45 million contract with the U.S. Air Force calls for Joby to conduct these tests as part of its “strategic capability portfolio,” which includes cutting-edge eVTOL aircraft.
The FAA and the US Air Force have approved Joby’s two S4 pre-production prototypes for experimental use.
First pre-production prototype, which has been flying since October 2019, completed 562 test flights and logged flight time of around 27 hours (meaning an average flight duration of less than three minutes), and flown no faster than 80 mph or higher than 1,000 feet, according to FAA documents filed in April 2021.
As part of a “envelope expansion drive,” Joby has surpassed those prior marks, according to Walker-Jones. On Jan. 1, Walker-Jones reported that the S4 prototype performed 17 sorties lasting more than 20 minutes in January alone, slightly exceeding the company’s declared peak speed of 200 mph. If validated, the 7,000-foot record would be far higher than what air taxis typically fly for short intra- and inter-city trips.
In the next two years, Joby plans to construct four S4 prototypes and conduct up to 600 test flights, according to documents filed with the FAA in April. Afterwards, the six-motored plane’s final design will fulfil FAA type certification standards for commercial operations.
A year from now, Joby plans to be a recognised air carrier, with fully trained pilots on board, before launching its passenger service in 2024. An deal to create rooftop take-off and landing spots atop parking structures in the metropolitan regions of Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco Bay Area was reached with urban real estate business Reef Technology last year.
NASA tested Joby’s S4’s takeoff, flight, and landing acoustics in September. Its aircraft will be more than 100 times quieter than a normal helicopter, enabling them “to fly over congested, metropolitan areas while blending into the background noise of cities,” according to an SEC filing. According to NASA and Joby, those test findings have not yet been released.
The ride-hailing company invested $75 million in Joby in January 2021, which was then used to purchase Uber Elevate, its air transportation startup. An SEC filing from Joby valued its Elevate assets at $20 million, with most of that value coming from its automation and multimodal and simulation software.
Joby’s FCC application for the San Francisco testing has not yet been approved by the agency.
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