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Electrifying news from Joby

Air taxi takes off

On November 12, Joby Aviation staked a claim to the first electric air taxi flight in New York City.

Joby’s electric air taxi in the skies above New York City, piloted by James “Buddy” Denham. Photo courtesy of Joby Aviation.

Joby has spent 10 years developing what the company calls a “pioneering electric aircraft.” It is powered by six electric motors and takes off and lands vertically, offering a high flexibility to operate in almost any community and environment. It is designed for commercial passenger service, carrying four riders plus one pilot. The fact that it has zero operating emissions and has a “radically lower acoustic footprint than today’s helicopters” makes it an ideal vehicle for densely populated areas, like Manhattan.

On November 13, after the exhibition flight at New York’s Downtown Manhattan/Wall St Heliport on the previous day and several preparation flights at  the Helo Kearny heliport in New Jersey, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that the city was planning to electrify Manhattan’s Downtown Heliport, “laying the groundwork for New York to become the global leader in the adoption of clean, quiet flight,” according to Joby.

“By electrifying one of the most famous heliports in the world, New York is demonstrating global leadership in the adoption of electric air travel. We’re grateful for the support of the city, and we’re honored to be working with visionary partners like Delta Air Lines to bring our air taxi service to this market,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation. “We plan to make quiet, emissions-free flight an affordable, everyday reality for New Yorkers, while significantly reducing the impact of helicopter noise.”

In a collaboration with NASA, Joby’s aircraft registered the equivalent of 45.2 A-weighted decibels flying overhead at 1,640 feet, which is quieter than a typical conversation.

In 2022, Joby signed a partnership with Delta aiming to establish a “home-to-airport air taxi service that seamlessly integrates Joby flight into the Delta customer experience.” After its certification from the FAA, Joby expects New York to be one of its early launch markets, by offering back-to-back flights across New York boroughs, as well as from Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport. By car, this trip can take an hour, while Joby expects to reduce travel time to seven minutes by air, thereby reducing emission and noise pollution on the ground.

New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Andrew Kimball said the administration of Mayor Adams "has been a leader in driving technology innovation and economic growth while simultaneously improving quality of life. EDC’s new strategy for the Downtown Manhattan Heliport reflects these priorities while making it an industry leader in the embrace of eVTOLS—a quieter and greener helicopter alternative—while at the same time facilitating maritime freight with last mile e-bike deliveries that takes trucks off the roads.”

A spokesperson for Joby stated, “Becoming the first electric air taxi to fly in the skies over New York City—and demonstrating just how quiet our aircraft is—was a remarkable opportunity for our team. For anyone who witnessed it, we hope it was a great indication of just how close this technology is and the impact it's going to have.”

Joby’s long-term vision is “to build a global passenger service that helps the world connect with the people and places that matter most, while helping to protect our precious planet.”

Sylvia Schneider Horne

Digital Media Editor
Sylvia Schneider Horne is a digital media editor for AOPA's eMedia division.
Topics: Advanced Air Mobility

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