Japan’s SkyDrive Moves Towards US eVTOL Certification

Close up render of a SkyDrive eVTOL aircraft
Image Credit: SkyDrive

Japanese electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer SkyDrive Inc. announced a major step towards bringing its technology to the United States.

The company submitted a type certificate application for its three-seater eVTOL, named “SKYDRIVE,” to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The company made the approach for US certification through Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) in April 2024.

Introducing Japanese UAM to Global Market

SkyDrive’s ambition from its inception has been to introduce Japanese-made air mobility solutions to the global market. It seeks to replicate the success of the Japanese automotive industry.

To prepare for US market entry and commercial operations, SkyDrive established a local subsidiary in 2023.

The company is actively collaborating with American customers to develop practical applications and tailor its offerings to the specific needs of the US market.

Their goal is to showcase the renowned quality and innovation of Japanese technology in the realm of air mobility. The new flight concept is steadily capturing the imagination of people worldwide.

SkyDrive has now initiated the critical process of obtaining type certification for its eVTOL aircraft. In collaboration with the Japanese regulator JCAB, SkyDrive has now made initial submissions to the US FAA.

With the JCAB’s support, the application to the FAA marks the beginning of SkyDrive’s US certification journey.

Timeline for JCAB & FAA Certification

The company aims to achieve FAA type certification following the anticipated JCAB approval in 2026 or later.

This milestone will then pave the way for SkyDrive’s innovative aircraft to enter American skies. It seeks to showcase the best of Japanese technology and design to a global audience.

Tomohiro Fukuzawa, CEO of SkyDrive, expressed his appreciation: “Our development team has been working diligently on both aircraft development and type certification simultaneously.”

“We are grateful to the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau for their support in our application process and look forward to a successful FAA type certification.”

“This collaboration allows us to advance the certification process in both Japan and the United States concurrently.”

“By leveraging the FAA’s experience in certifying eVTOLs and the ongoing JCAB certification of our aircraft, we aim to work together to create a future where our eVTOL operates commercially worldwide.”

About SkyDrive Inc.

Founded in July 2018 after years of testing flying car concepts and prototypes (beginning in 2014), SkyDrive’s mission is to “take the lead in the once-in-a-century mobility revolution.”

Their vision is a future where everyone has access to eVTOLs as their everyday transportation, in Japan and around the world.

The company achieved a historic milestone with the first crewed eVTOL flight test in Japan in 2019. Their “SKYDRIVE” eVTOL is currently undergoing certification with the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau.

SkyDrive was selected to participate in the Advanced Air Mobility project at Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan.

Production of the “SKYDRIVE” began in March 2024 at a plant owned by official production partner Suzuki Motor Company. SkyDrive is headquartered in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, with Tomohiro Fukuzawa serving as CEO.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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