SANTA CRUZ, CA—Joby Aviation Inc.’s much-anticipated electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft has achieved an important milestone. The company has begun final assembly of the fuselage at its pilot manufacturing facility in Marina, CA.

The aircraft is being built according to a complete implementation of a quality management system, qualifying it as a company-conforming aircraft, which is an important step on the path to achieving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification required to begin commercial passenger operations.

“Beginning final assembly of our first company-conforming aircraft is a critical achievement for [us] and a landmark for the wider eVTOL industry,” claims Didier Papadopoulos, head of aircraft OEM at Joby.

“It unlocks the path ahead and allows us to exercise our quality management system in preparation for type certification and a subsequent production certification,” adds Papadopoulos. “There is an incredible amount of work that goes into getting to this point and I’m very grateful for the energy and commitment of the team behind this achievement.”

Having built the major aerostructures of the aircraft—the wing, tail and fuselage—Joby is now beginning the process of mating the structures together and installing the wiring, electronics, actuation and propulsion systems on its pilot production line. Joby expects to begin flight testing by this summer.

“[Our] quality management system, matured over a number of years, includes tracking and documentation of every part on the aircraft, configuration management of engineering drawings, environmental conditions during fabrication, and actions taken by manufacturing technicians,” says Papadopoulos. “The system is reviewed regularly by the FAA as part of [our] preparation to receive a production certificate following the type certification of [the] aircraft.”

In addition to pursuing low-volume aircraft production in Marina, Joby is actively evaluating proposals from a number of U.S. states to support the construction of the company’s Phase 1 production facility.

Delta Air Lines plans to operate the aircraft initially in Los Angeles and New York City. ANA also plans to use the eVTOLs to provide air taxi service in Japan.