Archer Aviation has completed the final assembly of its first Midnight eVTOL. With final assembly and initial testing complete, last week the aircraft was 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.
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 strategy with this aircraft is to allow Archer to fly 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.
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.
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.