A California-based eVTOL aircraft developer, Archer Aviation, announced that its flight test program hit another key milestone as the company’s Midnight aircraft took flight for the first time.
Archer’s Midnight is a five-seat eVTOL aircraft that carries four passengers and one pilot for up to 60 miles (nearly 100 km) at speeds of up to 150 mph (241 km/h). The aircraft has 12 electric propellers and a sleek fuselage completed with a high main wing, a V-tail, and tricycle fixed-wheeled landing gear.
The goal is to revolutionize urban travel by replacing 60-90 minute car commutes with 10-20 minute electric air taxi flights that are safe, sustainable, low noise, and cost-effective compared to ground transportation. The Midnight aircraft is a fully piloted aircraft built to perform rapid back-to-back flights with minimal charge time between flights.
The company plans to expand the vehicle’s flight envelope from hover to full wing-borne transition flight in the coming months. This will pave the way for the company to begin “for credit” testing of its Midnight aircraft with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) next year. Archer stated that it aims to achieve its goal of being ready for entry into service with air taxi flights before the end of 2025, with initial use expected to be mainly for 10- to 20-minute flights in urban areas.
“Having taken seven full-size eVTOL aircraft from design to flight test during my career in the eVTOL industry, today’s milestone with Midnight marks the most significant flight to date, bringing Archer and the eVTOL industry another step closer to bringing a scalable and commercially viable aircraft to market,” said Archer COO Tom Muniz in the press release.
Archer plans to continue Maker’s flight test program and simulate commercial routes alongside the Midnight flight test program to advance the company’s operational readiness.
Joby Aircraft has been testing its full-scale conforming eVTOL prototype for a while now and is planning to launch its service in 2025. In a recent development, the company successfully completed its first flights with a pilot on board.