Archer Aviation’s air taxis are inching closer to reality.
After almost half a decade of work, the California company reached another key milestone in its test program on Wednesday as the Midnight electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft took flight. It comes after four years of flight testing, including two years of full-scale flight testing with the Maker air taxi.
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“This next phase of Archer’s flight test program is only possible because of the four years of flight testing we’ve done,” Archer founder and CEO Adam Goldstein said in a statement. “Midnight is building on the successes of its predecessor aircraft and represents another significant step forward in Archer’s path to commercialization.”
Midnight is fully powered by batteries and equipped with 12 rotors. It can carry one pilot and four passengers, with a payload capacity of more than 1,000 pounds. The aircraft is designed to fly 20-mile back-to-back trips, with 10-minute charging sessions in between. Cruising at an altitude of 2,000 feet, the eVTOL makes only 45 decibels of noise, making it 1,000 times quieter than a conventional helicopter.
Midnight is expected to progress from hover to full flight in the coming months. Archer is angling for certification in late 2024, with the commercial launch of 250 aircraft planned for 2025.
“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,” Goldstein adds.
It’s not only Archer’s test program that is progressing, either; the company’s partnerships are taking off, too. The company says it plans to develop a Manhattan-to-New-Jersey route through a $10 million partnership with United Airlines. It is also building a $118 million factory near Atlanta for production.
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