SkyDrive announced on April 27th an agreement that was reached in March with the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) to base the type certification for the company’s flying car on the JCAB Airworthiness Inspection Manual (AIM) Part II.
The certification basis applies to the SkyDrive SD-05, a two-seat flying car for which MLIT had accepted an application for type certification in October 2021. SkyDrive plans to launch air taxi service with this model in 2025.
In accordance with Japan’s Civil Aeronautics Law, MLIT issues a type certificate to certify that the design, structure, strength, and performance of a newly developed aircraft conform with necessary safety and environmental requirements for the given type of aircraft. Certification is granted only after the aircraft completes a battery of studies and tests, including strength and flight tests.
The SkyDrive eVTOL differs from conventional aircraft and conventional certification bases, therefore SkyDrive intends to engage in every step in the inspection and certification process in consultation with JCAB, including defining inspection standards, developing a certification plan and establishing a means of demonstration, all in keeping with the process as practiced internationally.
AIM Part II defines airworthiness conditions for fixed-wing aircraft that carry up to 19 passengers and have a takeoff weight of 8,618 kg (19,000 lb.) or less. Revision 61 is the newest version of the AIM Part II. It allows flexibility in the shape of the air frame and aircraft system. It also establishes standards for testing strength, structure, and performance to validate the safety of the aircraft and its components.
Based on discussions with the Public-Private Council for Air Mobility Revolution regarding safety standards for flying cars, SkyDrive and MLIT agreed to conduct the SD-05’s type certification based on AIM Part II. International air transport authorities, including the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), have adopted standards for eVTOL type certifications equivalent to the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau’s AIM Part II.
Nobuo Kishi, CTO of SkyDrive, commented: “We are very pleased that we have moved a step closer to obtaining a type certificate. From here, we will continue to deepen our partnership with JCAB and discuss plans toward obtaining a type certificate.
Why it’s important: SkyDrive’s relationship with JCAB will be instrumental in future progress toward certification of SkyDrive’s aircraft as the development of new certification bases will be an iterative process that requires original problem solving on behalf of the applicant in order to demonstrate/show compliance to the regulations, and that of the regulator who must establish requirements that meet current standards for aircraft systems which have much higher volumes of data that can be referenced for historical precedent.