Joby Aviation, the venture-based aerospace company, is developing an all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Powered by six electric motors, this aircraft was designed to be as quiet as possible, with the intent that it will blend in with city life without disturbing residents. The rotors can adjust their tilt, rotation speed, and blade pitch during take-off and cruise, reducing the blade vortex that generates the traditional helicopter sound.
NASA has begun testing the eVTOL aircraft as part of the agency’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign. The testing will run through September 10, 2021, at Joby Aviation’s Electric Flight Base near Big Sur, California. Testing is in the beginning stages, and if successful, eVTOL aircrafts could serve as air taxis in the future, providing an alternative mode of transportation throughout the country.
NASA’s engineers will collect vehicle performance and acoustic data, which will help in the modeling and simulation of future airspace concepts.
Davis Hackenberg, NASA’s AAM Mission integration manager, advised the following:
“The National Campaign Developmental Testing is an important strategic step in NASA’s goals to accelerate the AAM industry timeline.”
“These testing scenarios will help inform gaps in current standards to benefit the industry’s progress of integrating AAM vehicles into the airspace.”
Throughout the testing scenarios, the NASA team will collect information on how the vehicle moves, sounds, and communicates with controllers. They’ll also use the Mobile Acoustics Facility to measure sound emissions during different phases of the aircraft’s flight. This data will then be used to compare the noisiness of the eVTOL with conventional helicopters, drones, and other aircrafts.
Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt stated the following:
“From day one, we prioritized building an aircraft that not only has an extremely low noise profile, but blends seamlessly into the natural environment.”
“We have always believed that a minimal acoustic footprint is key to making aviation a convenient part of everyday movement without compromising quality of life, and we’re excited to fly with NASA, our longtime partners in electric flight, to demonstrate the acoustic profile of our aircraft.”
The eVTOL aircraft can cover up to 150 miles (240 kilometers) in one go and reach a speed of 200 mph (320 kph). Testing for this prototype began in 2017, with more than 1,000 flight tests performed. Joby Aviation hopes to receive a certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration by 2023 and start commercial passenger service by 2024.
Until Next Time…
Photo Credit: NASA
Margetta, R. (2021, September 1). NASA Begins Air Taxi Flight Testing with Joby. NASA. https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-begins-air-taxi-flight-testing-with-joby.
Pultarova, T. (2021, September 3). NASA starts testing electric air taxi for 1st time. SPACE.com. https://www.space.com/nasa-testing-electric-air-taxi.
Designed for Daily Life. Joby Aviation. (n.d.). https://www.jobyaviation.com.