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Autonomous eVTOL Maker EHang Says It¡¯s on the Cusp of Type Certification

Aug 31,2023

For all of the FAA¡¯s recent efforts to promote advanced air mobility (AAM) services in American airspace and chip away at China¡¯s growing influence on the industry, the agency and U.S. lawmakers may be disappointed by a recent piece of news: A Chinese company appears set to obtain the world¡¯s first electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) type certification.

EHang, a Guangzhou-based manufacturer of autonomous eVTOL aircraft for passenger transport and tourism services, announced it has completed all planned tests and flights of its EH216-S two-seater in the last phase of demonstrating compliance of its technology.

The flight test regimen included a definitive final demonstration for the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC), which eliminated the last obstacle on the aircraft¡¯s path to type certification, according to the company. EHang expects to obtain that approval ¡°soon¡± after it wraps up a handful of final procedures.

The CAAC officially accepted EHang¡¯s type certification application for EH216-S in January 2021. Over the past 30-plus months, the company has completed over 9,300 low-altitude tourism flight trials in 18 Chinese cities, including the mega-metropolises of Guangzhou and Shenzhen. It also completed Japan¡¯s first passenger-carrying flight of an autonomous eVTOL in February.

EHang has tested the aircraft¡¯s load, durability, reliability, and environmental impact, flying it under low and high temperatures and in high humidity, salt spray, and even typhoon conditions. It also evaluated batteries, electronics, software, the data link to the ground control station, and other components to demonstrate they meet CAAC airworthiness and safety standards.

EH216-S¡¯s recent demonstration before CAAC marked the final milestone before it can achieve type certification.

¡°I believe the remaining procedures will be finished very soon before the official authorization of the type certificate,¡± said Hu. ¡°It will pave the way for our commercial operations in the next stage.¡±

Based on this background, 2nd New Energy Aviation International Forum 2023 is scheduled to be held in Beijing, China on November 15th-16th,2023. At that time, it is expected to have more than 350 from domestic and foreign industry leaders and experts will join the forum. Taking the opportunity of technological innovation caused by new energy aviation to overcome the key technology of green low-carbon aviation for the electric aircraft industry, seizing the future aviation industry market and technology commanding heights, realizing green low-carbon aviation transformation, providing feasible solutions.

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