Joby Aviation begins flight testing with a pilot on board

Before, most of Joby’s flight testing has been piloted remotely

Joby Aviation says it has started flight testing its eVTOL aircraft with pilots on board the craft, a milestone step from remote ground control testing the company had previously pursued.

Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Joby last month said it would anchor its first scaled aircraft manufacturing facility near the Dayton International Airport, with plans to produce up to 500 aircraft per year.

Joby designs and makes electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, sometimes called “eVTOL” aircraft or “flying taxis.”

The California company is pursuing commercialization of an electric air taxi service, a new industry.

Chief Test Pilot James “Buddy” Denham led the recent on-board testing, the company said Wednesday.

The work is designed to gather data on the aircraft’s handling and pilot control interfaces, “laying the groundwork for future ‘for credit’ testing as part of the company’s ongoing certification program with the Federal Aviation Administration,” Joby said.

“Having helped design and test flight controls for a wide variety of aircraft, including all three variants of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, nothing compares to the simplicity and grace of the Joby aircraft,” Denham said in Joby’s release.

Most of Joby’s previous flight testing has been piloted remotely from a ground control station, using communications technology and software, the company said.

During on-board testing, Joby pilots conducted various tasks and maneuvers, including vertical takeoffs, accelerating and transitioning to forward flight, runway centerline tracking and decelerating to a vertical landing on a representative landing pad.

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