Understanding Joby’s progress toward a certified eVTOL

Breaking down the similarities and differences between Joby’s model for type certification, and the FAA’s.

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Release Date
November 6, 2023
Understanding Joby’s progress toward a certified eVTOL
Last year, the electric vertical take-off and landing developer Joby Aviation began reporting its progress toward type certification in the form of a chart showing five stages of certification and the percentage of each it had completed. As the company explained in its second quarter 2022 shareholder letter, its intent was “to provide a useful — and standardized — basis on which to evaluate Joby’s progress.”

The chart was a carefully thought-out attempt to distill a convoluted bureaucratic process into something simple to understand. But that hasn’t stopped people from misunderstanding it anyway.

Related: DOT audit report details conflict within FAA over eVTOL certification

Joby reported its third-quarter earnings on November 1, and as usual provided an updated chart showing its progress to certification. That was followed by some headlines claiming that Joby was 84% done with certification, which is not accurate — the company actually said that the Federal Aviation Administration had accepted 84% of its certification plans, which it defines as stage 3 of the certification process.

That was a simple mistake, easily corrected. Yet, there appears to be a more fundamental misunderstanding among many investors and analysts that Joby’s five stages of certification are the official methodology of the FAA, which is not exactly the case.

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