TOYOTA CITY, JAPAN, April 27, 2022 — SkyDrive Inc., a leading manufacturer of flying cars1 and cargo drones in Japan, announced that an agreement 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 certification2 for the company’s flying car on the JCAB Airworthiness Inspection Manual (AIM) Part II (Revision 61).
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.
What is a type certificate?
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 flying car (eVTOL) differs from conventional aircraft and has no precedent. 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.
What Is the Airworthiness Inspection Manual (AIM) Part II?
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 Revolution3 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.
Comments by Nobuo KISHI, Chief Technology Officer, SkyDrive Inc.:
“The Japan Civil Aviation Bureau accepted our application for type certification in October 2021. Since then, we have held a series of discussions with the authority regarding ways to develop and design safe aircraft and the means for testing them. We’ve now come to an agreement with the JCAB to adopt AIM Part II as the basis for type certification. 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.
“We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the government of Japan and MLIT, as well as to the many organizations and companies that have supported our project. We are determined to move ahead with the launch of a flying car business and to ultimately make air mobility a reality for society.”
1 Flying cars, formally eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft, are characterized by electrification, a fully autonomous autopilot, and vertical takeoff and landing. A new advancement in the field of mobility, the development of flying cars is being promoted globally. In Japan, the Public-Private Council for Air Mobility Revolution was established in 2018 for that purpose. The project is expected to lead to taxi services in urban areas, new means of transportation for remote islands and mountainous areas, and emergency transport in times of disaster. A roadmap formulated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) anticipates the start of business in 2023 and full-scale deployment in 2030.
2 Type certification basis may be subject to change in accordance with detailed design verification results.
3 Additional information on the Public-Private Council for Air Mobility Revolution: https://www.meti.go.jp/english/press/2018/0824_001.html
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