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Archer, Joby progress toward FAA certification

Two eVTOL companies are progressing toward FAA certification, announcing new milestones like Part 145 maintenance certification and approval for a propulsion certification plan. On Thursday both Archer Aviation and Joby Aviation announced each received Part 145 Repair Station Certificates from the FAA. With a Part 145 certificate from the FAA, each company can perform select maintenance activities on aircraft. Part 145 certification is a crucial step toward commercialization for each company's eVTOL and a key requirement in running commercial flight operations. Joby is believed to be the first eVTOL developer to receive a Part 145 Certificate, setting the foundation for future maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for its eVTOL aircraft. "This approval marks another foundational piece of Joby's vertically-integrated strategy, including aircraft development, manufacturing, charging systems, commercial flight operations, and now maintenance operations, as we prepare to bring our revolutionary eVTOL aircraft to market," Joby President of Operations Bonny Simi said.Archer eVTOL Archer also announced its Part 145 certification on Thursday, reinforcing its closed collaboration with the FAA as it progresses toward commercialization. "This is a major vote of confidence from the FAA on Archer's promise and potential for operating a full-scale urban air mobility service in cities across the country," Archer founder and CEO Adam Goldstein said. "As we continue to rapidly advance towards commercial operations, we will be working closely with the FAA and regulators around the world to ensure Archer's aircraft are safe and ready to transform mobility, providing a sustainable, low noise, and cost-competitive alternative to decongest our biggest cities." With the new certification, the companies can begin performing select airframe, radio and instrument repairs on traditional aircraft and can expand MRO services in the future. Joby said the certificate will allow the company to provide paid on-the-job training to aspiring aircraft technicians. The certificate ensures maintenance and repairs are performed by authorized experts to ensure operations adhere to federal regulations. "Receiving our Part 145 certificate from the FAA is an important step towards developing the needed maintenance, repair and overhaul services to support Joby's commercial flight operations, as well as establishing career pipelines for people who want to become eVTOL aircraft technicians," Simi said. Joby's eVTOL is designed to carry a pilot and four passengers at speeds up to 200 mph. Archer's Midnight is a piloted four-passenger aircraft designed for rapid back-to-back flights with minimal charge time in between. Next-gen eVTOL air taxis offer a sustainable, low cost and low-noise option for the flying public. Air taxis can replace a 60-90 minute commute by car with a 10-20 minute ride in the sky.Archer eVTOLOn Wednesday Archer shared its first three conforming Midnight aircraft were under construction, with the first set to begin final assembly in the coming weeks. The initial fleet of piloted aircraft will begin piloted flight testing later this year and then be used in for-credit flight testing with the FAA. The aircraft will have the necessary components and systems to conform to the intended design type and allow for for-credit flight testing with the FAA after Archer completes the flight testing phase, planned to begin later this year."The key to achieving FAA certification is flying a conforming aircraft. I believe we are positioned to be the first in the sector to do so," Goldstein said. "From day one, Archer's strategy has been to build an aircraft that is certifiable and manufacturable at scale. This focus is what has allowed us to move quicker and more efficiently than any other company in the industry over the last few years."Joby eVTOL On Friday Joby announced the FAA had accepted the certification plan for its propulsion system. This is another crucial step toward receiving type certification for Joby's eVTOL. The propulsion system was designed by Joby. The certification plan includes the company's electric propulsion unit, propulsion system, variable pitch actuation, coolant pump, nacelles and associated electric wiring. "We now have an approved path across our certification program for all of the structural, mechanical, and electrical systems of our aircraft," Joby President of Aircraft OEM Didier Papadopoulos said. "This sets the stage for our team to execute against that path with a well-defined approach to for-credit testing and analysis as we continue to lead the industry towards certifying an electric air taxi with the FAA." "I'm grateful to the incredible Joby team as well as the dedicated personnel at the FAA who continue to work hard to bring safety and innovation together, keeping the United States at the forefront of new aviation technology and capabilities." Achieving FAA certification involves an extensive, multi-step process. This involves an intense review of the design, manufacturing and performance of a novel aircraft type and requires the company to demonstrate its each aspect of its aircraft can meet safety regulations. Joby currently has all but one certification plan accepted and the final document is under FAA review. Joby is close to completing the third of five phases in the type certification process, now shifting its focus to the fourth stage, which entails detailed testing and analysis of the aircraft's systems and components. Joby completed 30-for-credit tests for the FAA in 2023. This included multiple flight electronics units and structural materials. The testing methods and processes that have been validated through testing will set the standard for the continued expansion of FAA-for-credit testing.
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