Less than ten days after announcing an agreement to implement air taxi operations in the United Arab Emirates, eVTOL developer Archer Aviation has finally taken its Midnight Aircraft to the skies. Following its first flight, Archer can begin the process of certification to begin commercial air taxi operations.
Archer Aviation ($ACHR) is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer that has been working toward today’s latest flight milestone since it debuted its Midnight back in December 2022.
The Midnight eVTOLs have been rolling off Archer’s assembly lines since May, with the help of longtime investor Stellantis, who recently forked over additional funds this past August, alongside United.
Archer has found another suitor in the US Air Force, which signed a contract for aircraft purchases worth up to $142 million. In June, Archer secured a Special Airworthiness Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), declaring its aircraft meets all the administration’s safety requirements to begin flight tests. At the time, Archer said it expected those tests to begin in a matter of weeks, but today, four months later, the Midnight eVTOL has completed its maiden flight.
Archer’s Midnight eVTOL begins test flights in US
The company shared details of its latest milestone in a press release this morning, complete with images of the Midnight eVTOL in the air seen above (sorry no video footage just yet). Archer shared that years of flight testing with other aircraft led to today’s voyage, bringing the company one step closer to certified air taxi operations. Per Archer founder and CEO. Adam Goldstein:
This next phase of Archer’s flight test program is only possible because of the four years of flight testing we’ve done. Midnight is building on the successes of its predecessor aircraft and represents another significant step forward in Archer’s path to commercialization. The next year and a half will be focused on continuing to rapidly advance our flight test program and Archer’s electric air taxi operations as we prepare to bring Midnight to market in 2025.
The first flight in the Midnight eVTOL consisted of a hover operation, but Archer says now that testing is officially underway, the aircraft will progress to full wing-borne transitions in the coming months. Those maneuvers will be part of the Midnight’s “for credit” testing process with the FAA next year, as the company looks to begin commercial air mobility services in 2025. Archer COO Tom Muniz also spoke:
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.
While it will surely continue flight tests with its Midnight aircraft, Archer states it will simultaneously continue a test flight program on simulated commercial routes with its Maker eVTOL – the Midnight’s predecessor.
If and when air taxi operations begin, Archer hopes to replace 60-90 minute car commutes with 10-20 minute electric air taxi rides using eVTOLs that can perform rapid back-to-back flights with minimal charge time in between. We will share video footage of the Midnight’s first flight as soon as its posted by Archer.
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