First-Ever Video: Joby Aviation Flies Electric Multicopter/Tiltrotor

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Joby Aviation has released video footage of its electric-powered multicopter tiltrotor prototype, which Joby refers to as an E-VTOL (electric, vertical takeoff and landing). The aircraft—like the Boeing V-22 Osprey, it is both an airplane and a rotorcraft—has been flying up a storm, and the company released the footage earlier this week of flights that were made last year in an undisclosed location. It’s impressive. Joby says that it has made more than 1,000 flights. The video shows what is clearly a maturing aircraft in terms of its design. 

In the video, the craft was flown in automated mode, though it has flown with a human pilot, as well. It’s designed to carry up to five passengers (with no human pilot) and cruise at better than 170 knots(an extremely ambitious goal), while also being able to land and take off vertically, and hover, too, all of which it can do a great deal more quietly than a comparable-capacity helicopter. Joby also says that the craft will have two hours of battery endurance, which is an impressive achievement, if it has pulled that part off yet.

The aircraft features a Garmin G3000 flight deck. The technology, representatives from both companies say, will allow control of the sophisticated craft while also allowing for upgrades as the E-VTOL’s capabilities and requirements grow.

Joby also went through a couple of big corporate changes recently, as well. Earlier this week, it merged with Reinvent Technology Partners, and it announced that it plans to go public this year. Joby recently acquired Uber’s Elevate program, and it has a strategic partnership with manufacturing partner Toyota.

Each aircraft will cost more than a million dollars to build, and it’s not clear what pilot certification would look like should aircraft like this make their way into the personal flying world. But we can’t wait to find out. 

Categories: How to Become a Pilot

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