The Chinese electric vehicle take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer EHang has become the first company in the world to obtain type certification for its flying taxi, EH216-S.
The Guangzhou-based Ehang made the stunning announcement on Friday, October 13, 2023, which means EHang’s eVTOL aircraft is now able to fly passengers.
The type certificate was granted by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) which has deemed that the EH216-S’s model design fully complies with its safety standards and airworthiness requirements.
EHang, which trades on the US stock market, saw its share price jump as the business world took in the extraordinary news which could potentially revolutionize the aviation world.
The CAAC first accepted EHang’s EH216-S type certification application in January 2021, and since then the two entities have worked together to validate and verify the aircraft’s technology.
EH216-S is autonomous and can carry two passengers, so in comparison to some of the other eVTOL aircraft being developed it is much smaller and it remains to be seen how the vehicle will be used in the future.
In a statement EHang said: “After more than 1,000 days and nights of persistent efforts, they overcame all kinds of difficulties and challenges to successfully complete all type certification objectives, proving that EHang is fully capable of independently designing, developing, and manufacturing mature unmanned eVTOL products.”
We made it! pic.twitter.com/oHy1W5vXdm— EHang (@ehang) October 13, 2023
CAAC assembled leading experts from local authorities, aviation institutions and research organizations, and formally published the Special Conditions for the EH216-S UAV System in February 2022.
Amidst a global landscape where eVTOL aviation airworthiness regulations are still evolving, it is a of note that China has managed to formulate a rigorous and scientific regulatory framework of airworthiness certification for the EH216-S passenger-carrying UAV system.
The certification can also act as a benchmark for more efficient and wide-scale airworthiness certification for aircraft of this kind in China and abroad.
“I extend my heartfelt gratitude to CAAC, the expert team, and all EHang employees for their unwavering dedication. Our self-developed EH216-S passenger-carrying UAV system has finally met high expectation to secure the first TC in the global eVTOL industry, marking a significant chapter in civil aviation history,” Huazhi Hu, founder, chairman and CEO of EHang said.
He added: “Embracing the TC as our springboard, we will launch commercial operations of the EH216-S unmanned eVTOLs, prioritizing safety above all. This will enable us to steadily progress towards our strategic goal to be a UAM platform operator, and commit to our mission to enable safe, autonomous, and eco-friendly air mobility accessible to everyone.”