Joby receives Part 135 certification to practice operations with fixed-wing planes

Certificate is one of three required to meet goal of carrying passengers on electric rotorcraft in 2024

This story has been updated.

Joby Aviation has received one of the three FAA certifications it will need to begin air taxi service in 2024, the company announced today.

The California-based air taxi developer received its Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate ahead of schedule, the company said in a press release. Joby still needs an aircraft type certification and a production certification to begin passenger flights with its electric aircraft.

Joby is one of dozens of startups around the world that are developing electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for commercial passenger service.

“The five-stage process included the submission of more than 850 pages of manuals for approval and required Joby’s initial cadre of pilots to demonstrate mastery of the company’s procedures and training under FAA observation,” the press release reads.

The certification clears Joby to begin test flights and limited commercial operations with fixed-wing aircraft, specifically the seven-passenger Cirrus SR22 built by Minnesota-based Cirrus Aircraft, a spokesperson told me by email. Through these initial flights, Joby plans to refine the logistics of its future air taxi operations “so we are ready when we receive type certification for the Joby aircraft,” the spokesperson said.

The company did not provide details regarding when or where passenger flights with the SR22 would begin, nor how many of the aircraft would be in service. Four Joby pilots flew a SR22 during testing for the Part 135 certification.

Joby is pursuing type certification for its eVTOL under FAA’s Part 23 regulations, which are for small airplanes. FAA has said it will revise certification requirements for eVTOL aircraft, but FAA says the new regulations won’t impact schedules for companies like Joby that are already midstream in the certification process.

The procedures approved by FAA lay a foundation for operations, Joby said in the release.

“Over the coming months, we will use our Part 135 certificate to exercise the operations and customer technology platforms that will underpin our multi-modal ridesharing service,” the release said.

Once Joby receives a type certificate for its eVTOL design, the company will complete FAA’s review process to add the new aircraft type to its existing air carrier certificate, Joby said.

Joby’s aircraft is designed to transport a pilot and four passengers up to 240 kilometers on a single charge at speeds of up to 320 kilometers per hour.

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A white and black multicopter aircraft with six propellers is parked on a tarmac under a clear blue sky.
Joby Aviation plans to begin passenger flights in 2024 with its S4 air taxi design, a pre-production version of which is shown here. Credit: Joby Aviation

Joby receives Part 135 certification to practice operations with fixed-wing planes