April 15, 2024
Joby Aviation Pioneers Manned eVTOL Air Taxi Flight in New York City

Joby Aviation Pioneers Manned eVTOL Air Taxi Flight in New York City

Joby Aviation, the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft manufacturer, has successfully completed its first piloted demonstration flight of the S4 eVTOL air taxi in New York City. This comes just weeks after a similar flight took place in the California desert. The purpose of the New York City flight was to demonstrate the significantly lower noise and disruption levels of the S4 compared to traditional helicopters.

The event took place at the Downtown Heliport, located on the East River near Wall Street. NYC Mayor Eric Adams organized a press conference to announce plans to electrify the heliport, not only to support the upcoming wave of electric air taxis but also to facilitate the charging of electric bikes for last-mile deliveries.

eVTOL aircraft hold promise as a sustainable and efficient means of urban transport, helping to alleviate traffic congestion. These electric air taxis offer quick and convenient flights over congested areas at a fraction of the cost and noise pollution associated with helicopters.

In order to emphasize this point, Joby conducted a demonstration flight of the S4, having it take off and fly several tight circles. According to NASA’s confirmation in 2022, the S4 produces a noise level on the ground of 45.2 dBA when cruising at an altitude of 500 meters (1,640 feet). This is equivalent to the noise produced by a refrigerator or moderate rainfall. In comparison, a 2015 study measured the mean street noise level in NYC at 73.4 dBA across 99 sites, highlighting the significantly lower noise impact of the S4.

During the demonstration, the S4 remained in hover mode the entire time, and it is yet to be seen how the aircraft will transition to fully wing-supported cruise flight with a pilot on board. However, Joby plans to achieve this milestone by obtaining Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification and launching into commercial service and serial production by 2025, assuming all goes according to plan.

It is worth noting that the event video released by Joby includes background music, making it difficult to assess the true noise level of the aircraft. To provide a more accurate representation, B-Roll footage of the event has been uploaded, some of which includes audio. The footage clearly demonstrates that the S4 produces minimal noise, as bystanders near the cameras can engage in conversations without having to raise their voices.

The successful piloted demonstration flight of Joby’s S4 eVTOL air taxi in New York City showcases the potential of this technology in revolutionizing urban transportation sustainably. By combining reduced noise levels and minimal disruption, eVTOL aircraft offer a promising solution to combat urban traffic congestion, providing efficient and eco-friendly alternatives to helicopters. As Joby progresses with its plans for FAA certification and serial production, the future of electric air taxis appears brighter than ever.


  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it