The U.S. space agency teamed up with electric aircraft startup Joby Aviation to conduct developmental flight tests of the air taxi. The dry run began quietly on August 30 and will continue until September 10. The effort will include a noise probe using 50 microphones that will measure the “sound profile” of an air taxi during a given flight.
NASA said that the National Campaign Developmental Testing is an important strategic step in NASA’s goals to accelerate the AAM industry timeline,” said Davis Hackenberg, NASA AAM mission integration manager. “These testing scenarios will help inform gaps in current standards to benefit the industry’s progress of integrating AAM vehicles into the airspace.
The testing, which runs through September 10th, utilizes a yet-to-be-named eVTOL craft from a company called Joby, which has been developing the technology with NASA for over 10 years. The aircraft, which looks like a large version of a 6-rotor drone, will be performing flight tests at Joby’s Electric Flight Base, near Big Sur in California.
During the test flights, NASA will collect data on how the aircraft moves, sounds and communicates with controllers.
The ongoing air taxi test could also help in incorporating the aircraft in the American National Airspace System.