FAA type certification eVTOL: Japan’s Skydrive

Japanese Developer SkyDrive Collaborates with JCAB and FAA to Bring the SD-05 to Market, Targeting 2026 for North American Expansion

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian J. McNabb

Japanese “flying car” eVTOL (electronic vertical takeoff and landing) developer Skydrive recently announced that the FAA had accepted their application for type certification for their three-seater “Skydrive” SD-05 model, marking an important first step for its eventual arrival in American airspace. This was done via an arrangement with JCAB, the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau, and was accepted on April 28, 2024. 

As part of Skydrive’s efforts to expand into the North American market, they established a local subsidiary in 2023 and are actively seeking opportunities throughout the United States with a variety of local partners. Skydrive hopes that they will be able to bring their eponymous eVTOL to market sometime after 2026, when they hope they will have received type certification from JCAB. The SD-05 Skydrive will be built in Iwata City, Shizuoka, Japan, in collaboration with Suzuki, and features a maximum takeoff weight of 3100 lbs and a maximum range of up to 15 km, with a targeted air speed of 100 km/hr. 

Tomohiro Fukuzawa, CEO of SkyDrive, said, “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. 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.”

Skydrive has become a local leader in the eVTOL world, with their first successful crewed test back in 2019. They will be presenting their product at the 2025 Advanced Air Mobility Expo in Osaka, Kansai, Japan. More information on the company and the SD-05 is available here.

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Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.


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