California-based Archer Aviation announced that it has successfully completed all of its “critical azimuth” flight tests using its Maker demonstrator eVTOL aircraft. Archer said this marks the completion of the second of three key phases of flight testing, keeping the company on pace to achieving transition flight by the end of the year.
The most recent flight tests saw the Maker flying at increasing speeds of up to 15 knots (27.7 km/h) in various directions and attitudes. The purpose of these tests is to validate the crosswind capabilities of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft configuration and flight control systems.
Having successfully validated various systems through this second phase of flight testing, Archer is now shifting into the third phase of its program, during which it will evaluate the aircraft’s performance at increasing forward speeds. At the current rate of progress, the company continues to anticipate expanding to full transition flight by the end of 2022.
Archer’s flight test campaign has been designed to carefully evaluate the company’s systems and technology. The rapid progress made by the company with Maker has allowed the validation of a number of technologies for Archer’s production aircraft.
The Maker completed its first hover test flight in December of last year. The aircraft is designed for short-range trips. It has a 40-foot wingspan and weighs about 3,300 pounds (1,508 kg). Equipped with 12 rotors, Maker will carry passengers for a short distance of up to 40 miles (64 km) at a top speed of 150 mph (241 km/h). The company claims its aircraft will be capable of making approximately 40 trips per day.
Archer also said that the Maker is 100 times quieter than conventional helicopters. This ultra-silent air taxi is set to become certified by 2024 and eventually operate without a pilot on board.
Archer recently teamed up with Honeywell, which will provide flight control actuation and thermal management technologies for its production aircraft.