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EHang obtains first eVTOL type certification from Chinese aviation authorities

By Vertical Mag | October 13, 2023

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, seconds.

China-based eVTOL developer EHang has become the first company in the world to receive type certification from an aviation authority for an autonomous passenger-carrying eVTOL aircraft.

The EH216-S has obtained a type certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China. EHang Photo

The company announced on Oct. 13 that it has received type certification (TC) from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for its EH216-S, a two-seat autonomous eVTOL aircraft. EHang said this demonstrates that its EH216-S fully complies with CAAC’s safety standards and airworthiness requirements, and is qualified to conduct autonomous passenger-carrying commercial operations in China.

“I extend my heartfelt gratitude to CAAC, the expert team, and all EHang employees for their unwavering dedication,” said Huazhi Hu, founder, chair and CEO of EHang, in a press release. “Our self-developed EH216-S passenger-carrying UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] system has finally met high expectation to secure the first TC in the global eVTOL industry, marking a significant chapter in civil aviation history.”

Since CAAC formally accepted EHang’s EH216-S TC application in January 2021, the eVTOL developer has worked closely with the aviation authority to validate and verify the aircraft’s technology. For the EH216-S type certification, CAAC and EHang used conventional aviation principles alongside “an innovation-centric approach, which involved formulating specific certification basis and means of compliance tailored to the EH216-S’s distinctive technical features,” the company said.

During the validation process, EHang said its aircraft underwent “extensive laboratory, ground, and flight tests at professional aviation laboratories and test sites across multiple locations in China.” This included testing the structural strength, flame resistance, crashworthiness, software simulation, ground control stations, and flight performance, among other tests.

“The validation process scrutinized components, equipment, and the entire aircraft for prefabricated defects, faults and interferences during both laboratory experiments and flight trials,” the company said. “With that, the safety, airworthiness, performance, functionality, usability and reliability of the EH216-S have been thoroughly and rigorously validated through over 500 specific test items, more than 40,000 test flights for adjustments, and formal conformity validation tests encompassing 65 major categories and over 450 individual test items.” 

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