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Sat, Feb 19, 2022

Joby Falters With Test Flight Accident

8-K Filing Reveals Crash During Remotely Piloted Test Flight

A much-hyped remotely piloted test of Joby's second demonstrator aircraft ended disappointingly, as the aircraft was involved in an accident of some kind. The company has been understandably mum on specifics while the NTSB quickly  announced their investigation into the cause. 

The incident was mentioned in the firm's terse 8-K documents, saying that "its remotely piloted, experimental prototype aircraft was involved in an accident during flight testing at our remote flight test base in California. There were no injuries." The company had gained no small measure of interest when it filed the request for radio-controlled, remotely piloted flights off the Californian coast. Their decision to build a second aircraft was a fortuitous turn, in this case, as their evaluation and development can continue without too great a setback. 

The news was slightly damaging to its cachet on the stock market, as Joby stock slid back down around 10%, losing the recent gains that prefaced the test flight. The setback was a first for the company, having had a lucky streak until now. Joby is a young company, flying a clean-sheet design, and a fairly new eVTOL industry - accidents are part and parcel of the testing process. They stressed their precautions surrounding the accident, emphasizing that no one was at risk during this stage of the program. "Safety is a core value for Joby," read the filing. "Which is why we have been expanding our flight envelope with a remote pilot and in an uninhabited area, especially as we operate outside expected operating conditions," they continued. "Experimental flight test programs are intentionally designed to determine the limits of aircraft performance, and accidents are unfortunately a possibility. We will be supporting the relevant authorities in investigating the accident thoroughly." Some followers gave kudos to the company for honestly admitting the accident, joking that a less honest operation could have retroactively designated the flight as an intentional "crash test". 

Details are understandably scarce at the moment. Unless a solid understanding of the culprit is found, Joby will likely attempt to keep their cards as close to the chest as possible and ride through the stock slump. The internet has a short attention span, and the incident could fade from memory shortly after announcing their next successful test flight. 

FMI: www.jobyaviation.com

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