Photo credit: Joby Aviation

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

According to Aerospace America and the manufacturer, a prototype electric passenger aircraft, the Joby S4, produced low sound levels in its own and in NASA sound measurement tests. The report states, “Joby says its piloted five-seat eVTOL aircraft will carry four passengers at speeds of up to 200 mph (321 kph), with a maximum range of 150 miles (241 km) on a single charge and zero operating emissions. But so far the company has only flown unpiloted tests.”

Battery-powered aircraft are the holy grail for people interested in quieter aircraft producing no in-flight particulate or gaseous pollutants.

I’m in favor of quieter, less polluting aircraft but am concerned that when one of the eVTOLs runs out of juice because it can’t land due to bad weather–a sudden fog bank, for example–it will become the battery-powered version of the Hindenburg.

But until then, at least there appears to be hope for quieter, cleaner aircraft.