Showing 37 results
Joby build NASA's X-57 Maxwell electric cruise motors, but its eVTOL work is being closely held. (NASA/Lauren Hughes)

Joby Expands in Monterey County

On Aug. 21, the city council of Marina, California, gave its approval for Joby Aviation to move into two buildings at the Marina Municipal Airport where, according to the Monterey County Weekly, “ they will set about designing and building prototypes of small, electric planes that take off and land vertically, travel faster and more quietly than a helicopter and, according to Joby, do it more safely.” The company will be leasing 74,000 ft² (6,900 m²) across two buildings, with plans to expand to a manufacturing facility of 1.5 – 2 million ft² (139,000 – 186,000 m²). Joby currently employs about 170 people in Bonny Doon, in Santa Cruz County, California; the Marina Airport is about 30 miles (50 km) southeast as the eVTOL flies … or a two-hour drive in rush hour. Source:  An ambitious flying taxi startup is setting up shop at the Marina Municipal Airport, Monterey Country Weekly, Aug. 30, 2018

Joby Lotus Featured Image

Joby Lotus (defunct)

Lotus Joby Aviation Santa Cruz, California, USA The Joby Aviation Lotus was designed in partnership with NASA to demonstrate that a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft would be able to achieve a 24-hour flight endurance. A subscale demonstrator was built but never flown. The Lotus was a vectored thrust tricopter with a fixed wing and three propellers. The twin blade wing-tip propellers would fold outward in cruise mode, adding lift to the wing. The tail propeller, mounted atop the rudder, would tilt forward to become a tractor prop for powered cruising. The model was electric with a 4.5 kg battery capable of 2.98 kWs of power, although a full size version would have been hybrid-electric. The demonstrator was 24.9 kg with a 3.35 m wingspan and capable of a 3.2 kg payload. Cruise speed was 114.8 km/h and cruise altitude was 3,048 m. The demonstrator was to be capable of more than an hour’s flight time. Had a full sized Lotus drone been developed it would have been roughly twice the size, five times the weight with a 27.2 kg payload and capable of over 24 hours of flight. In May 2018, the Vertical Flight Society presented Joby Aviation’s CEO, JoeBen Bevirt, its Paul E. Haueter Award, given for an outstanding technical contribution to the field of VTOL aircraft development other than a helicopter or an operational vertical flight aircraft, for all of the company’s eVTOL work to date, including successfully demonstrating the world’s first high-speed multi-passenger electric VTOL aircraft, the Joby S4. Resources Search eVTOL news posts Website: Joby Aviation Press release: The Next Phase at Joby, Feb 1, 2018 U.S. Patent: Aerodynamically efficient lightweight vertical take-off and landing aircraft with pivoting rotors and stowing rotor blades, March 18, 2014 Paper: Design and Testing of the Joby Lotus Multifunctional Rotor VTOL UAV, Pranay Sinha, 2015 Article: Under contract with NASA, Joby has developed a truly novel VTOL configuration: the Lotus, sUAS News, July 9, 2017 Article: EAS IX: JoeBen Pulls off a Hat Trick, Sustainable Skies, May 14, 2015 Article: The Joby S2 VTOL Concept, Vertiflite, November 1, 2014 Article: AHS International Leads Transformative Vertical Flight Initiative, eVTOL News, November 1, 2014 Video: Joby Aviation Lotus, stealthyf23, April 13, 2016 Video: VTOL UAV with Rotor blades that merge to a wing edge Joby Aviation, TilTuli, July 31, 2015 Video: Joby Aviation Lotus wingtip rotor flow simulation, Joby Aviation, April 8, 2014 Tags: Joby, Vectored Thrust, Defunct, Scaled Prototype, 0 Passengers, Electric Hybrid, Autonomous, VFS Member

Joby S2 at sunset

Joby S2 (defunct)

S2 Joby Aviation Santa Cruz, California, USA Joby Aviation’s S2 concept expanded from its two year collaborative study with NASA that resulted in the NASA GL-10, Joby Lotus and joint NASA/Joby LEAPTech concepts. The S2 would feature 12 propellers on tiling and folding nacelles with eight on the fixed wing and four on a V-stabilizer/rudder configuration. Aside from accent and decent these would tilt laterally and the blades fold back to reduce drag. Four additional fixed horizontal pusher props on the wing and stabilizer tips would be utilized for cruising. The vehicle would have been all electric and designed to carry two passengers. Joby has discontinued the S2, using data derived from it and its Lotus demonstrator to work on its four passenger Joby S4. In May, 2018 the Vertical Flight Society presented Joby Aviation’s CEO, JoeBen Bevirt, its Paul E. Haueter Award (given for an outstanding technical contribution to the field of VTOL aircraft development other than a helicopter or an operational vertical flight aircraft) for successfully demonstrating the world’s first high-speed multi-passenger electric VTOL aircraft.   Resources: Search eVTOL news posts Website: Joby Aviation U.S. Patent: Aerodynamically efficient lightweight vertical take-off and landing aircraft with pivoting rotors and stowing rotor blades, March 18, 2014 Article: Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers, Vertiflite, March 1, 2017 Article: The Demand for On-Demand Mobility, Vertiflite, January 1, 2017 Article: Lift Where You Need It, Vertiflite, November 1, 2016 Article: The Joby S2 VTOL Concept, Vertiflite, November 1, 2014 Article: AHS International Leads Transformative Vertical Flight Initiative, eVTOL News, November 1, 2014 Tags: Joby, Vectored Thrust, Initial Design, Defunct, 2 Passengers, Electric/Batteries, Autonomous, VFS Member

Joby S4 Featured Image

Joby S4

S4 Joby Aviation Santa Cruz, California, USA The Joby Aviation S4 is a four-seat electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing Vehicle using six vector thrust propellers on fixed wings and stabilizers. Joby Aviation has been relatively secret with its S4 aircraft. It is believed to be a continuation of the Joby S2 design. Some few computer images of the S4 presented at the 2nd Annual AHS Transformative Vertical Flight Workshop held at the NASA Ames Research Center in July 2016. At the 2019 Vertical Flight Society’s sixth annual eVTOL Symposium Joby revealed additional information and initial performance details of test flights of scale and full sized demonstrators. The S4 is configured with six tilting and folding blade propellers, four of which project forward from pylons on a 35-ft. (10.7) span high-wing and two that cantilever forward from a V-tail. A Distributed Electric Propulsion System (leveraged by NASA’s LEAPTech demonstrations) are powered by lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese-oxide batteries, provides a range of 150 miles (241 km). The vehicle employs a unified flight control system to reduce pilot workload during the conversion to and from VTOL to horizontal flight mode. “In a demonstration for Bloomberg News, the S4 completed a piloted test flight that included a vertical takeoff, 15 minutes of flight along a 15 mile (24.1 km) course, and a controlled landing.” Joby was honored in May 2018 with the Vertical Flight Society’s Paul E. Haueter Award, given for an outstanding technical contribution to the field of VTOL aircraft development other than a helicopter or an operational vertical flight aircraft was awarded to JoeBen Bevirt, the founder and chief executive officer of Joby Aviation Inc., for successfully demonstrating the world’s first high-speed multi-passenger electric VTOL aircraft. According to the FAA Aircraft Registry, the aircraft has the registration N541JA, and the model number is JAS4-101 and the serial number is JAS4-1 (Joby Aircraft S4, aircraft number 1). The test vehicle is named Rachel. Joby was initially funded by JoeBen Bevirt, Paul Sciarra and others. Series A and Series B investments have now reached $130M. In January of 2017, Joby Aviation received $970,000 from the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), a Pentagon organization that focuses on implementing cutting-edge technology into the U.S. Military. Joby’s efforts are backed by at least five large investors (Capricorn Investment Group, Intel Capital, JetBlue Technology Ventures, and Toyota AI Ventures). At the VFS 6th Annual Electric VTOL Symposium on Jan. 29, 2019, Joby …

Joby S2 top view

The Joby S2 VTOL Concept

The Joby S2 VTOL Concept Exploring the New Degrees of Design Freedom of Distributed Electric Propulsion By Mark Moore Vertiflite, Nov-Dec 2014 Despite more than 70 years of vertical flight development, there are only three operational types of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft today: helicopters, the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor and the AV-8B Harrier jump jet. It could be argued that VTOL aircraft went through its period of rapid experimentation, and like commercial transports, settled on the configuration that offered the best approach. It could also be argued that the technologies that have developed over the past 40 years (composites, digital avionics, lightweight propulsion, etc.) have simply enabled the same approaches to be better. But a question that’s quickly intriguing many VTOL aircraft design experts is whether the emerging electric propulsion technologies require us to fundamentally question which configuration approach offers the best value proposition for civil and military mission capabilities. The New Technology Frontiers Over the past decade, there’s been amazing progress in autonomy and electric propulsion technologies. It’s natural for us to see some of these proposed self-driving cars and think – if this can be done in very cluttered ground environments -how much easier it would be to implement in the air with small aircraft. We also see cars using electric propulsion technologies to achieve improvements in efficiency of ~50%, so naturally we should be asking if we can achieve similar improvements with aircraft. Hybrid electric technologies in particular make tremendous sense when there’s a large mismatch in power required between a short-term power and cruise rating (i.e., rapid acceleration versus highway cruise for automobiles). VTOL aircraft experience this same power mismatch, which makes them prime candidates for this technology application. You may look at these technologies and say that they’re not there yet, but one thing that’s certain – they’re improving very rapidly. In fact, they’re progressing at a pace at which aerospace manufacturers aren’t acclimated. And that’s why companies such as Joby Aviation are stepping in to explore the opportunities these new technologies offer for new configuration approaches that better align with civil VTOL transportation needs. Electric propulsion offers new characteristics that reciprocating and turbine engines don’t provide: the opportunity to distribute the integration of propulsors across the airframe. This is a result of electric motors providing essentially the same power to weight and efficiency independent of the size of the motor, while maintaining highly …

Bell Nexus over Dallas, Texas

The eVTOL Industry in Transition

The eVTOL Industry in Transition In light of the watershed 6th Annual eVTOL Symposium, and recent news and events, Vertiflite assesses how the burgeoning industry is maturing. By Kenneth I. Swartz Vertiflite Mar/Apr 2019 In the five years since the Vertical Flight Society hosted its first “Transformative Vertical Flight Concepts Joint Workshop on Enabling New Flight Concepts through Novel Propulsion and Energy Architectures,” electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft have evolved from a wide-eyed futuristic concept into an emerging business within the global aerospace industry. This transition was especially apparent in early 2019 when several first-to-market eVTOL aircraft developers unveiled mockups, flew prototypes, announced strategic partnerships, unveiled new owners or released market surveys. Bell unveiled a mock-up of its Nexus hybrid-electric eVTOL at CES; Boeing’s Aurora Flight Sciences hovered its full-scale, twoseat Passenger Air Vehicle (PAV) eVTOL; Joby Aviation revealing performance targets for the five-seat S4 eVTOL that has been secretly flying for two years; XTI Aircraft unveiled its 65%-scale model of the TriFan 600; Beta Technologies opened up on its Ava XC test flights (see “Electric VTOL for Organs on Demand”); and Jaunt Air Mobility acquired the rights to Carter Aviation Technologies’ slowed rotor/compound (SR/C) design, including its eVTOL air taxi work. These five aircraft programs are led by engineers and technical teams that are fully aware of the challenges of VTOL aircraft design and development, including certification for private, business aviation and commercial use by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and their international counterparts. In fact, many of these eVTOL developers employ some of the original participants at the first VFS workshop in August 2014, while other attendees are now working for companies like Uber and plan to put the first eVTOL aircraft to work moving passengers by the early- to mid-2020s. Research & Development Historically, the aerospace industry has taken decades to develop successful new aircraft and air transportation modes in an evolutionary manner. Most step-changes in military and commercial aircraft capabilities can be attributed to advances in aircraft engine technology. For example, the development of the transformative Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey and Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II weapon systems were the culmination of decades of multi-billion dollar government and industry investments in disruptive technologies (including engines) designed to dramatically enhance military vertical flight capabilities. In contrast, the timing of today’s eVTOL revolution is driven by the convergence of electric motors, batteries, hybrid-engine technology, control …

eVTOL Corporate Directory

Listed below are 70+ Vertical Flight Society (VFS) corporate members which work in all aspects of eVTOL aircraft development (aircraft, software, engines, simulations, universities, etc.). Our corporate members have an unprecedented opportunity to network and engage with all levels of the rotorcraft technical community, including industry, academia and government. More than 100 VTOL companies and organizations have joined the Vertical Flight Society (VFS). Please go to to be part of the world’s largest organization supporting vertical flight technology. Aircraft Developers A³ by Airbus 225 W Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113 Aircraft: Vahana Airbus Helicopters F-13725 Marignane Cedex, Aéroport International Marseille-Provence, France Aircraft: Airbus CityAirbus, Pop.Up Next Airspace Experience Technologies, LLC 11499 Conner Street, Detroit, Michigan 48213 USA Aircraft: AirspaceX MOBi Aurora Flight Sciences 9950 Wakeman Drive, Manassas, Virginia 20110 USA Aircraft: Aurora eVTOL AutoflightX GmbH Friedrichshafener Str. 1, Gilching 82205 Germany Aircraft: AutoFlightX BAT600 Bartini, Inc. 19421 Phil Lane, Cupertino, California 95014 USA Aircraft: Bartini Flying Car Bell 3255 Bell Flight Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas 76118 USA Aircraft: Bell Nexus Beta Technologies, Inc. 265 Aviation Ave, South Burlington, Vermont 05403 USA Aircraft: Ava XC Carter Aviation Technologies, LLC 2730 Commerce Street, Suite 600, Wichita Falls, Texas 76301 USA Aircraft: Carter Aviation Air Taxi Kitty Hawk Corporation 2700 Broderick Way, Mountain View, California 94043 USA Aircraft: Kitty Hawk Cora, Kitty Hawk Flyer Jaunt Air Mobility, LLC Aircraft: Jaunt Joby Aviation 340 Woodpecker Ridge, Santa Cruz, California 95060 USA Aircraft: Joby S4 Karem Aircraft, Inc. 1 Capital Drive, Lake Forest, California 92630 USA Aircraft: Karem Butterfly Leonardo Helicopters 3050 Red Lion Road, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19114 USA Aircraft: AgustaWestland Project Zero (defunct) * Formerly AgustaWestland. LIFT Aircraft Inc. 3402 Mount Bonnell Road, Austin, Texas 78731 USA Aircraft: Hexa Lilium GmbH Gilching, Bavaria 82205 Germany Aircraft: Lilium Jet Neoptera Aero Ltd 24 Rock Lane, Stoke Gifford, Bristol BS348PF United Kingdom Aircraft: Neoptera eOpter NFT Inc. 4653 Table Mountain Drive, Golden, Colorado 80403 USA Aircraft: NFT ASKA eVTOL Piasecki Aircraft Corporation Second Street West, PO Box 360, Essington, Pennsylvania 19029-0360 USA Aircraft: Piasecki eVTOL Pipistrel Vertical Solutions d.o.o. Vipavska cesta 2, Ajdovscina 5270 Slovenia Aircraft: Pipistrel Sabrewing Aircraft Company, Inc. 275 Durley Avenue, Unit H-3, Hangar 2, Camarillo Airport, Camarillo, California 93010 USA Aircraft: Sabrewing Draco-2 UAS Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company 6900 …

Early eVTOL Test Pilots

The earliest electric VTOL aircraft were initially flown by the inventors themselves. Here is a list of the earliest known successful manned eVTOL liftoffs and their pilots. First Flights of eVTOL Aircraft Aug. 4, 2011 Pascal Chretien Solution F Helicopter Venelles, France n/a Oct. 5, 2011 Marcus Leng SkyKar (Opener BlackFly) Rebel Warkworth, Canada C-IJQV Oct. 21, 2011 Thomas Senkel Volocopter VC1 Karlsruhe, Germany n/a March 19, 2018 Marcus Leng Opener BlackFly v2 Palo Alto, California, USA C-IKLT or C-IKLY Feb. 17, 2016 Philippe Antoine Aquinea Volta Castelnaudary, France F-WALG March 30, 2016 Alex Zosel Volocopter VC200 Karlsruhe, Germany D-MYVC Sept. 13, 2016 Ric Webb Tier 1 Electric Robinson R44 Los Alamitos, California, USA N3115T Early 2017 unknown Joby S4 Santa Cruz, California, USA N541JA 2017 Dr. Todd Reichert Kitty Hawk Flyer (prototype) unk, California, USA n/a Aug. 1, 2017 Bill Shoemaker Zee Aero Z-P2 Hollister, California, USA N102XZ Sept. 16, 2017 Boyan Zhelev Astro PassengerDrone (AA360) near Sofia, Bulgaria n/a Early 2018 unknown Kitty Hawk Flyer (production) unk, California, USA n/a Feb. 5, 2018 (1st public manned flight) unknown EHang 184 Guangzhou City, China n/a April 30, 2018 John Graber Workhorse SureFly Cincinnati, Ohio, USA N834LW 2018 unknown EHang 216 Guangzhou City, China n/a June 22, 2018 Kyle Clark Beta Technologies Ava XC Plattsburgh, NY, USA N802UT Nov. 1, 2018 Matt Chasen LIFT Aircraft Hexa Austin, Texas, USA? n/a red text indicates unknown or unconfirmed data Additional flights with pilots/passengers (not first flights) 2018 6 more pilots Opener BlackFly v2 Palo Alto, California, USA C-IKLT or C-IKLY Dec. 3, 2017 Brian Krzanich (Intel) Volocopter VC200 near Munich, Germany D-MYVC Late 2018 Justin Paines Joby S4 unk, California, USA N541JA 2017-2018 additional pilots Kitty Hawk Flyer (prototype) San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA n/a 2018-present Many Kitty Hawk Flyer (production) various n/a 2016-present Many EHang 184 various n/a 2018-present Many EHang 216 various n/a

What Else to Do with an Army of Interns

NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) Aeromechanics Branch hosted more than 60 interns this summer and focused their energies on studying the future of vertical flight. This is the second of two reports from this past year’s summer interns. By Nicholas Peters Vertiflite Jan/Feb 2019 During my ten-week NASA Aeromechanics Branch internship, I focused on what is considered by some as the most ambitious and ground-breaking new market of the modern aviation industry: urban air mobility (UAM). Even before The Jetsons’ first appearance on TV in the early 1960s, the world has hungered for a possible future of commuting to work by sky. Yet, what started out as a fantasy has slowly turned into an increasingly urgent need. The world traffic issues faced in megacities is one that results in the loss of billions of dollars a year of productivity and one that only continues to worsen with time (see for instance, “Traffic Congestion Costs Americans $124 Billion A Year, Report Says,” Forbes, Jan. 25, 2015). It is this impending megacity gridlock that has led to the business case for not only the UAM field but an overarching goal across the industry to establish alternative forms of transportation for the modern urban environment. Yet, with each of these plans, there are selective enabling technologies that act as limiters to their mass market application, and the UAM market is no different. Currently, — the VFS website on electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft — lists more than 125 proposed UAM-styled aircraft established by companies ranging from startups to the largest players of aviation (e.g. Airbus, Bell, Boeing and Embraer). Nearly all of these concepts propose using enabling technologies such as fly-by-wire-based control laws, electric hybrid propulsion, and advanced structures and manufacturing techniques. With a large array of technologies still needing to be studied, there is a clear need for a financial incentive to speed the practical application of these technologies. Here is where the GoFly Prize enters the UAM field. The GoFly competition requires that selected teams design and fly minimally-small “personal flying devices” that can incorporate VTOL technologies into their design (see “GoFly Enters Phase II,” Vertiflite, July/Aug 2018 or While each team is competing for $2M in prizes and the hopes of developing a marketable product, the collective information provided by the teams will form the foundation on which a future UAM market for individual transportation could grow.To …

Congressional Hearing on “Airspace Integration of New Aircraft”

The US House of Representatives’ Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing of the Subcommittee on Aviation on “Airspace Integration of New Aircraft” on Sept. 6, 2018. Hearing Background Memo Witness List: Shelley Yak, Director, FAA Technical Center | Written Testimony Jay Merkel, Deputy Vice President, Program Management, FAA Air Traffic Organization (accompanying Shelley Yak) Tom Prevot, Director of Engineering, Airspace Systems, UberElevate | Written Testimony JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Joby Aviation | Written Testimony Mariah Scott, President, Skyward | Written Testimony Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) Subcommittee on Aviation Opening Statement (Remarks as Prepared) We are in the early days of a technological revolution that will transform the aviation industry and our national airspace.  In recent years, we have witnessed the growing use of unmanned aircraft, or drones, to improve many different sectors of our economy, including infrastructure, energy, emergency response, and agriculture.  This Committee has met several times to discuss the opportunities and challenges, including regulatory and safety issues, that come with drones. More recently, we have heard from developers of new “flying car” aircraft.  These aircraft may soon fly commuters and across-town travelers above congested highways, bridges, and roads in our cities.  It was not long ago that flying cars only existed as science-fiction.  These aircraft will carry 3 or 4 people short distances, fly a couple of thousand feet up, and share similar flight technology to drones.  It is an exciting time for the aviation industry in the United States. Other countries see this potential as well.  For example, at the end of August, the Japanese government convened a meeting in Tokyo that included 21 private companies to develop a plan for introducing flying cars there in the next decade.  This meeting included American and European companies, in addition to Japanese firms.  Companies participating ranged from tech companies and airlines to aerospace and automobile giants that we all know.  And Japan is not the only country embracing this new transportation innovation.  Firms in China are also looking to establish themselves as leaders.  The United States must be active in order to maintain its global leadership in aviation—that means that the Federal Aviation Administration needs to stay ahead of these new technological advancements. One thing that remains unchanged in the face of these developments is that our number one priority remains—safety.  To both ensure safety and maintain our leadership in aviation, we must systematically address a number of issues. Today, we begin …