EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., - A new air taxi from the manufacturer Joby Aviation will allow NASA to evaluate how this kind of vehicle could be integrated into our skies for everyday use, while the Air Force researches its potential military use. On Sept. 25, Joby announced the delivery of one of their air taxis – an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft – through a funded contract with their customer, the U.S. Air Force AFWERX Agility Prime program. NASA has an interagency agreement with AFWERX to use the aircraft for testing concentrated on how such vehicles could fit into the national airspace, Teresa Whiting writes for the agency. Continue reading original article.
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29 September 2023 - Joby’s aircraft, which has already begun flying at Edwards AFB, is the first electric air taxi to be stationed on a U.S. military base and is believed to be the first delivery of an electric air taxi in the U.S., as part of Joby’s $131 million AFWERX Agility Prime contract with the U.S. Air Force. Joby’s current and previously completed work with the Department of Defense represents a total potential contract value of $163 million, the largest in the industry.
The aircraft, which was the first built on Joby’s Pilot Production Line in Marina, California, will be stationed at Edwards Air Force Base for at least the next year, with charging and ground support equipment provided on-base by Joby in a facility purpose-built by the Air Force for joint flight test operations. The U.S. Air Force and Joby will conduct joint flight testing and operations to demonstrate the aircraft’s capabilities in realistic mission settings. On-base operations will also include the training of Air Force pilots and aircraft maintenance crews, which will provide the DOD with valuable insight into the performance of eVTOL aircraft and will give Joby on-the-ground operational and training experience as the company prepares for the launch of commercial passenger service in 2025.
“NASA’s participation in the Joby and AFWERX project will provide our researchers with hands-on experience with a representative eVTOL vehicle, concentrated on how these types of aircraft could fit into the national airspace for everyday use, that will inform NASA’s effort in supporting the entire eVTOL industry,” said NASA research pilot Wayne Ringelberg. “The research will include a focus on handling qualities evaluation tools, autonomy, and airspace integration, which is all needed research to push the industry forward.”
Jamie Whitney, Senior Editor
Military + Aerospace Electronics