Archer Aviation, a Bay Area-based electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer, announced it has now completed the final assembly of its first Midnight aircraft. With final assembly and initial testing complete, the aircraft was recently shipped from Archer’s Palo Alto facility to its flight test facility in Salinas, California and reassembled. Archer will now take this aircraft through a series of ground tests leading up to its planned first flight this summer. The Midnight aircraft has recently garnered significant attention from the U.S. Department of Defense given its payload capabilities.
Component manufacturing is already underway for Archer’s conforming Midnight aircraft. Archer is targeting the completion of final assembly of its initial conforming Midnight aircraft in Q4 2023 and to begin piloted flight test operations in early 2024.
“Today we announced our exciting progress that the final assembly of our first Midnight aircraft is now complete and it is preparing for its flight test program,” said Adam Goldstein, Archer’s Founder and CEO. “This aircraft will accelerate and reduce risk on our certification program paving the way for our team to focus on building and conducting piloted operations with conforming aircraft to support the goal of entering into service in 2025.”
Archer and its key strategic partners, Stellantis and United Airlines, continue to advance its aircraft development and commercial operations in accordance with the company certification timeline. The company has also demonstrated strong manufacturing and commercial operations with the build out of its high-volume manufacturing facility in Covington, Georgia underway and announced key strategic electric air taxi routes in New York and Chicago.
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With a range of up to 100 miles, Archer’s Midnight aircraft is designed to perform rapid back-to-back flights with minimal charge time in between. Archer’s goal is to transform inter-city travel, replacing 60-90 minute commutes by car that can take over an hour in traffic with ~10-20 minute electric air taxi flights that are safe, sustainable, low noise and cost competitive with ground transportation.
Why it’s important: This Midnight aircraft will enable Archer to perform critical “company testing” to accelerate and reduce risk on its certification program with the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) in advance of “for credit” certification testing that the company plans to begin early next year with piloted Midnight aircraft. The company’s strategy with this aircraft is to enable execution of many of the same test points that will be needed during piloted “for credit” flight testing in order to further validate the aircraft before the FAA witnesses and participates in the testing – a customary practice in many aircraft certification programs.
Source // Archer press release