Archer’s Midnight eVTOL Completes Transition Flight Testing

An Archer Aviation Midnight eVTOL test aircraft in horizontal flight.
Photo Credit: Archer Aviation

Archer Aviation Inc. (NYSE: ACHR), a pioneer in the eVTOL aircraft sector has achieved a further waypoint. The developer has now completed successful transition flight testing of its Midnight aircraft.

This achievement marks a significant step forward in Archer’s mission to revolutionize urban transportation.

Transition flight occurs when the aircraft takes off vertically like a helicopter, accelerates forward, and transitions from thrust-borne to wing-borne flight.

The transition flight, completed on June 8th, saw the Midnight aircraft seamlessly transition from vertical takeoff to forward flight exceeding 100 mph.

This accomplishment firms Archer’s position as a leader in the eVTOL industry. Notably, the achievement of transitional flight is a notoriously challenging feat for many companies.

Midnight: One of the Largest eVTOL Aircraft to Achieve Transition

Midnight is now the 7th full-scale eVTOL aircraft that Archer’s CTO, Tom Muniz, and Chief Engineer, Dr. Geoff Bower, have successfully built and flown in their respective careers.

The Midnight aircraft holds another distinction: its size. Weighing approximately 6,500 lbs, it’s believed to be one of the largest eVTOL aircraft to ever complete a transition flight.

This size is crucial for carrying commercially viable passenger payloads, making Midnight a significant advancement towards practical air taxi services.

Transition with Two Generations of eVTOL Aircraft

This achievement is a testament to the dedication and expertise of Archer’s team. Notably, the Midnight transition comes less than two years after the successful transition of Archer’s first-generation eVTOL aircraft, Maker.

Archer’s first generation full-scale eVTOL aircraft, Maker, successfully achieved transition in November, 2022. This came just eleven months after its first flight, and it still flies regularly in the company’s flight test program.

Just seven months after Midnight’s first flight, Archer has now successfully transitioned its production eVTOL aircraft.

This accomplishment highlights Archer’s efficient development process and commitment to creating an aircraft designed for both certification and large-scale manufacturing.

An Archer Aviation Midnight aircraft in horizontal flight.
Photo Credit: Archer Aviation

Midnight Flight Testing Moves Ahead

The Midnight transition marks another chapter in the impressive careers of Archer’s Chief Technology Officer, Tom Muniz, and Chief Engineer, Dr. Geoff Bower.

This flight represents the seventh full-scale eVTOL aircraft they’ve successfully built and flown, each progressively larger and designed for greater commercial viability.

With the transition milestone achieved, Midnight’s flight test program continues its upward trajectory.

Upcoming plans include simulating commercial routes to demonstrate operational readiness, performing high-frequency flight operations. They will test additional commercial maneuvers, and expand the aircraft’s speed and endurance capabilities.

An Archer Aviation Midnight eVTOL test aircraft in horizontal flight.
Photo Credit: Archer Aviation

Archer Secures Key Certifications

Archer is also making significant progress on the regulatory front. The company has already secured its Part 135 and Part 145 certificates from the FAA.

As such, it is one of only two companies worldwide to receive final airworthiness criteria for an eVTOL aircraft.

Currently, Midnight is in the final “implementation” phase of its Type Certification program, with piloted flight testing expected to begin later this year.

Archer’s ultimate goal is to revolutionize urban commutes. By offering safe, quiet, and cost-competitive electric air taxi services, Archer aims to replace lengthy car journeys of 60-90 minutes. The conventional trips will be replaced with quick and sustainable 10-20 minute eVTOL flights.

The Midnight aircraft, designed for rapid back-to-back flights with minimal charging time, embodies this vision for the future of urban transportation.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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