The NTSB is investigating a JOBY eVTOL test aircraft crash that occurred on Wednesday February 15th at the company’s test site in California.
The aircraft was being remotely piloted at the time, there were no injuries.
eVTOL vehicle are the new holy grail in the aviation industry. These are maned aircraft electrically powered with the capability to takeoff and land vertically hance VTOL Vertical TakeOff and Landing. These hybrid vehicles address mostly urban passengers and are designed to compete with ground vehicular transportation.
Currently there are no certified aircraft of this particular type of airplane.
There is nor regulatory framework to certify such an airplane, and the manufacturers do not want to certify under special certification.
The solution the companies are taking together with the FAA is certification under 14 CFR FAR part 23 (small airplanes) with some extracts from 14 CFR FAR part 27 (helicopters)
The main issue is redundancy during the vertical takeoff and landing. A helicopter backup plan would be autorotation. These vehicles do not possess this option and are leaning towards proving statistical improbability of multiple engines failing at the same time. The Joby one has six electric motors.
There are about 10 franchises currently in one stage or another of developing such a vehicle including EHANG from China Airbus Embraer and more. Some like JOBY employ gliding on fixed wings others do not.
This accident will set back this race a bit. There are bigger issues at stake like who is going to use it etc. But we will continue monitoring developments.
For little more regarding the company accident and industry click here