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Japanese eVTOL startup with South Carolina office submits FAA application

Jason Thomas //June 21, 2024//

SkyDrive, based in Toyota, Japan, has started producing its “SKYDRIVE (SD-05)” aircraft at Suzuki Motor Corp.’s manufacturing plant in Iwata-city, Shizuoka, Japan. (Rendering/SkyDrive)

SkyDrive, based in Toyota, Japan, has started producing its “SKYDRIVE (SD-05)” aircraft at Suzuki Motor Corp.’s manufacturing plant in Iwata-city, Shizuoka, Japan. (Rendering/SkyDrive)

SkyDrive, based in Toyota, Japan, has started producing its “SKYDRIVE (SD-05)” aircraft at Suzuki Motor Corp.’s manufacturing plant in Iwata-city, Shizuoka, Japan. (Rendering/SkyDrive)

SkyDrive, based in Toyota, Japan, has started producing its “SKYDRIVE (SD-05)” aircraft at Suzuki Motor Corp.’s manufacturing plant in Iwata-city, Shizuoka, Japan. (Rendering/SkyDrive)

Japanese eVTOL startup with South Carolina office submits FAA application

Jason Thomas //June 21, 2024//

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A Japanese electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft manufacturer with ties to South Carolina is seeking federal approval to operate in the U.S.

SkyDrive Inc. has submitted type certificate application of its three-seat eVTOL to the Federal Aviation Administration through the Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau, according to a news release. The application was accepted in April.

Since its founding, one of SkyDrive’s core ambitions has been to introduce Japanese-origin air mobility solutions to the world, mirroring the success and admiration the Japanese automotive industry has attained globally, the release stated.

To prepare for its entry into the U.S. market and commercial operations, SkyDrive established a local subsidiary in 2023. SkyDrive is now collaborating with local customers to develop practical use cases and tailor its offerings to meet the needs of the American market.

In January 2023, SkyDrive announced plans to enter the U.S. market and establish its home base in Beaufort County. The company, which is developing a commercial “flying car,” has outlined its plan to develop an advanced air mobility ecosystem in South Carolina while focusing on building a variety of practical use cases originating from two of its key airports in cooperation with local and state government agencies.

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Guided by the expertise of the JCAB, SkyDrive has initiated the crucial step of seeking type certification for its eVTOL aircraft, the release stated. With their support, the company has submitted its application to the FAA, marking the beginning of its certification journey in the U.S. market.

SkyDrive’s goal is to obtain FAA type certification, building upon the anticipated JCAB type certification in 2026 or later. This milestone will enable SkyDrive to bring its innovative aircraft to the American skies, showcasing the best of Japanese technology and design to a global audience, the release stated.

“Our development team has been working on both aircraft development and type certification activities in parallel. We are very grateful to the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau for supporting our application and looking forward to a successful FAA type certification,” Tomohiro Fukuzawa, CEO of SkyDrive, said in the release. “This collaboration allows us to advance our certification processes in both Japan and the United States simultaneously.

“With the FAA’s experience in the certification process of several eVTOLs and the JCAB already advancing the certification of our aircraft, we aim to work together to create a future where our eVTOL can operate commercially around the world.”

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