autoevolution

Joby Air Taxi Prototype Bites the Dust During Test Flight, Crashes in California

When it comes to air taxi development, Joby Aviation is one name that everyone in the eVTOL industry has heard of. The California-based company is in the big league and has managed to spread its wings all over the world. But the recent incident in which it was involved might set it back a few steps.
Joby N542AJ aircraft 6 photos
Joby Aviation eVTOL aircraft prototypeJoby Aviation eVTOL aircraft prototypeJoby Aviation eVTOL aircraft prototypeJoby Aviation eVTOL aircraft prototypeJoby Aviation eVTOL aircraft prototype
Test flights represent a normal stage in the development and improvement process of an aircraft, and all manufacturers rely heavily on them. It is during these tests that you get to see how the eVTOL behaves, how far you can push its limits, and what needs more work or adjustments. But Joby might have taken it a bit too far on February 16th, which led to the crash of one of its pre-production prototypes.

While the company hasn’t commented on the incident so far, the official documents that have emerged show that its N542AJ aircraft was involved in a victimless accident two days ago, while performing a test flight in Jolon, California, at the company’s test base.

In the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) Form 8-K, the company specifies that the remotely piloted, experimental aircraft was flying in an uninhabited area and that there were no injuries. Joby also added that it will be supporting the relevant authorities in investigating the accident thoroughly. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) preliminary report says pretty much the same thing and we are being offered no information on the level of damage of the N542AJ aircraft.

According to Joby-Aviation-Fan’s Twitter post, the team was really pushing the boundaries of the eVTOL during the test, hitting top speeds of up to 270 mph (around 435 kph), although the specs for the aircraft show that its top speed is 200 mph (322 kph).

As expected, the incident caused a drop in Joby’s shares.

The crash occurred a month after Joby Aviation announced that it managed to achieve the fastest flight of an eVTOL to date, with one of its pre-production air taxis, reaching 205 mph (330 kph) during a flight session, on January 20.

 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories