Elec­tra Aero is now work­ing with the Fed­er­al Avi­a­tion Admin­is­tra­tion (FAA) Cen­ter for Emerg­ing Con­cepts and Inno­va­tion (CECI) and the Atlanta Air­craft Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Office (ACO) to define the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion path for its eSTOL air­craft.

To help with this path, the com­pa­ny has hired Randy Grif­fith as its Direc­tor of Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Grif­fith joins from Aeri­on Super­son­ic, where he was the VP of Air­wor­thi­ness & Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, and has more than 30 years of aero­space engi­neer­ing expe­ri­ence on a diverse range of air­craft and tech­nolo­gies. He has also spent the last two decades man­ag­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of a vari­ety of diverse, new air­craft pri­mar­i­ly at start-up com­pa­nies.

Elec­tra CEO, John Lang­ford, said: “Randy is an indus­try vet­er­an who has led the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Eclipse Jet, Hon­da Jet, Mooney M10, Aeri­on SST, and Zunum ZA10. Hav­ing tak­en sev­er­al air­craft from con­cept through cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, he knows what it real­ly takes to get the job done and we are excit­ed to have him on our team.”

Electra’s first com­mer­cial prod­uct is planned for FAA-type cer­ti­fi­ca­tion mul­ti-engine, Lev­el 3, Low Speed air­plane under 14 CFR Part 23 in 2026.

It is designed to car­ry up to sev­en pas­sen­gers and a pilot as far as 500 miles, and will serve urban and region­al air mobil­i­ty mar­kets, sus­tain­abil­i­ty-focused air­line oper­a­tions, ‘mid­dle mile’ car­go logis­tics, and air ambu­lance ser­vices.

Elec­tra has been accept­ed into the FAA Cen­ter for Emerg­ing Con­cepts and Inno­va­tions (CECI) ear­ly engage­ment pro­gram to work togeth­er with CECI and the Air­craft Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Office to eval­u­ate these spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tions, define the Project Spe­cif­ic Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Plan, and devel­op the Com­pli­ance Check­list among oth­er key doc­u­ments.

All air­craft devel­op­ments (even con­ven­tion­al pis­ton designs) have unique design fea­tures or approach­es that require spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tions (i.e., Spe­cial Con­di­tions, Equiv­a­len­cies, Exemp­tions, unique means of com­pli­ance, etc.). Elec­tra has said it cho­sen its air­craft con­fig­u­ra­tion and tech­nolo­gies to min­imise these spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tions (which increase devel­op­ment complexity/cost/time).

JP Stew­art, Electra’s Pro­gram Man­ag­er, said: “The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of any air­craft must be treat­ed with great respect to exceed expec­ta­tions of the public’s trust in the air­craft OEM and the reg­u­la­tor. The key to a cost and time effi­cient cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is the ear­ly engage­ment of stake­hold­ers to iden­ti­fy and mit­i­gate risks while changes to improve safe­ty can be effi­cient­ly made

“We’ve start­ed this engage­ment ear­ly in the design and look for­ward to work­ing with the FAA and oth­er stake­hold­ers to devel­op the safest air­craft in this class.”

In 2022, Elec­tra plans to begin flight test­ing a full-scale hybrid eSTOL tech demon­stra­tor air­craft which will car­ry two peo­ple, take off and land in dis­tances under 150ft, and use a 150-kW hybrid-elec­tric tur­bo­gen­er­a­tor to pow­er eight elec­tric motors and charge a cus­tom bat­tery sys­tem dur­ing flight.

This demon­stra­tor will be used to pro­vide data and oper­a­tional expe­ri­ence to sup­port and reduce risk of the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.