EHang announced that the EH216-S, its self-developed passenger drone system, has obtained the type certificate, officially issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, CAAC.
The EH216-S certified…
EHang announced on October 13, 2023 that EH216-S, its self-developed passenger drone system, has obtained the type certificate, officially issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, CAAC . This certificate certifies that the design of the EH216-S model fully complies with the safety standards and airworthiness requirements of the CAAC, and that the EH216-S is qualified to conduct commercial drone passenger transport operations. As the world’s first airworthiness certificate for an electric unmanned vertical take-off and landing aircraft (ADAVe), the EH216-S certificate of airworthiness not only sets a benchmark for the airworthiness certification of innovative eVTOLs in China and abroad, but also constitutes an important milestone for the commercial operations of this type of vehicle.
…Following a request in January 2021
Since the CAAC officially accepted EHang’s EH216-S TC application in January 2021, the EHang team has worked closely with the CAAC and its team of experts to validate and verify innovative cutting-edge aircraft technologies. For the type certification of the EH216-S, the CAAC and EHang respected century-old conventional aeronautical principles while adopting an innovation-centered approach, which involved the formulation of specific certification bases and means conformity documents adapted to the distinctive technical characteristics of the EH216-S, in order to carry out the type certification work.
A first for an ADAVe
Regarding airworthiness certification standards, the CAAC gathered leading experts from local authorities, aviation institutions and research organizations, and officially released the special conditions for the EH216-S drone system in February 2022. In a global context where ADAVe aviation airworthiness regulations are still evolving, the fact that China has formulated a rigorous and scientific regulatory framework for the airworthiness certification of the EH216 passenger transport drone system- S constitutes a pioneering initiative. This framework represents the collective expertise of CAAC, EHang, and unmanned aviation professionals across the country, and provides a solid foundation for more effective, larger-scale airworthiness certification for aircraft of this type in China and abroad.
Tests on different sites
During the validation process, the EH216-S underwent extensive laboratory, ground and flight testing and at various test sites across China. These tests focused, among other things, on the performance of the main materials, structural strength, flame resistance, crush resistance, gas toxicity, environmental conditions of equipment and systems, software simulation, data links, ground control stations, overall system functionality, electromagnetic compatibility, flight performance and flight stability characteristics.
More than 40,000 flights in total
The validation process allowed components, equipment and the entire aircraft to be thoroughly examined for prefabricated defects, failures and interferences during laboratory experiments and flight tests. Thus, the safety, airworthiness, performance, functionality, ease of use and reliability of the EH216-S have been thoroughly and rigorously validated through more than 500 specific test items, more than 40 000 test flights for adjustments, and formal conformance validation testing encompassing 65 major categories and over 450 individual test items. CAAC’s experience and expertise in the airworthiness certification of the EH216-S constitutes an important benchmark for the global aviation industry and plays an essential role in the development of regulations, standards and standards for airworthiness certification of unmanned eVTOLs, serving as a crucial benchmark for the industry globally.