Recently Issued Report Sheds More Light on Joby's Air Taxi Prototype Crash

Joby Aviation eVTOL prototype 6 photos
Photo: Joby Aviation/YouTube
Joby Aviation eVTOL aircraft prototypeJoby Aviation eVTOL aircraft prototypeJoby Aviation eVTOL aircraft prototypeJoby Aviation eVTOL aircraft prototypeJoby Aviation eVTOL aircraft prototype
Back in February, the aerospace company Joby Aviation made the headlines due to a mishap involving one of its eVTOL (electric take-off and landing) aircraft prototypes. The air taxi crashed during a test flight in California, but the cause of the accident wasn’t specified by either the authorities or the manufacturer. Now we are finally being offered some additional information on what happened.
Test flights are nothing unusual, representing the final stage in the production process of an aircraft. But they don’t always work out the way you want them to, and February 16, 2022, was definitely not a lucky day for the eVTOL manufacturer. During a routine test flight, a Joby N542AJ prototype was involved in an accident that ended with the air taxi crashing in Jolon, California, at the company’s test base. The aircraft reached insane speeds of 270 mph (approximately 435 kph) before hitting the ground, although the top speed mentioned in the specs is 200 mph (322 kph).

Fortunately, though, no casualties were reported, as the air taxi was unmanned and remotely piloted. Moreover, the experimental aircraft was flying in an uninhabited area. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) preliminary report didn’t offer any additional information regarding the cause of the accident or the level of damage of the eVTOL aircraft.

But two days ago, the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) announced on Twitter that it issued a preliminary report on the aforementioned crash. Granted, not much more is revealed in it, but the report does specify that the eVTOL experienced a component failure. Which component? We don't know yet. It also says that the aircraft was substantially damaged.

Joby’s zero-emissions air taxi claims to offer a range of 150 miles (241 km) on a charge and has a capacity of five people (including the pilot). While the February 16 incident can be seen as a setback for Joby, the Californian company has also had multiple successes. Last summer, it announced that it completed the longest test flight of an eVTOL aircraft to date, and at the end of January 2022, it also achieved the fastest flight with it. Joby is determined to begin commercial operations of its air taxi in 2024.
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About the author: Cristina Mircea
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Cristina’s always found writing more comfortable to do than speaking, which is why she chose print over broadcast media in college. When she’s not typing, she also loves riding non-motorized two-wheelers, going on hikes with her dog, and rocking her electric guitars.
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