Joby’s eVTOL prototype catches a lift to its test site

Avatar for eVTOLBy eVTOL | July 8, 2020

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 39 seconds.

Joby Aviation has transferred its prototype eVTOL aircraft from Santa Cruz, California, to an approved location for expansion of the flight test program, a company spokesperson confirmed to

Joby eVTOL airlift
Joby’s eVTOL prototype is carried over the Monterey Bay from the company’s facility in Bonny Doon, near Santa Cruz. The drag chute attached to the aircraft provides additional stability in flight. Shmuel Thaler/Santa Cruz Sentinel Photo

Santa Cruz Sentinel photographer Shmuel Thaler captured the aircraft “in flight” on Tuesday as it was slung beneath a Bell 205A-1 helicopter operated by HeliStream Aviation.

Joby described the continuation of the flight test program as “a very exciting milestone for the air taxi market,” but declined to provide further details at this time.

Joby eVTOL airlift - detail
Joby’s eVTOL prototype has six tilting propellers, which were removed for the airlift. Shmuel Thaler/Santa Cruz Sentinel Photo

Joby’s prototype is the second eVTOL aircraft to have recently gotten a helicopter ride to its official testing site. On June 12, Beta Technologies’ Alia was airlifted from the company’s headquarters in Burlington, Vermont, to Plattsburgh, New York, beneath a Helicarrier Sikorsky S-61N.

Beta and Joby are frontrunners in the race to develop and certify eVTOL aircraft. Beta plans to use Alia initially to transport human organs for launch customer United Therapeutics. Meanwhile, Joby — an Uber Elevate partner with substantial backing from Toyota Motor Corp. — is squarely targeting the urban air mobility market with its five-seat air taxi.

Beta Alia eVTOL airlift
Beta’s Alia eVTOL prototype was airlifted to its own official testing site last month. Eric Adams Photo

However, both also recently advanced in the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime “air race to certification,” which seeks to promote development of the U.S. commercial eVTOL industry by leveraging Air Force resources and early use cases. In late May, the Air Force said it expected to progress to airworthiness assessments and flight tests with Beta and Joby “this year.”

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  1. They both look like something out of science fiction. I would pee myself if I saw them racing.

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