Archer’s eVTOL demonstrator aircraft, Maker, has completed its first successful hover flight. The milestone also marked the completion of the company’s first full and complete systems test and validation of every hardware and software component working as intended to move the aircraft in the air.
The flight test was completed on December 16th and saw Maker accelerate off the ground and hovering in place, before returning to the ground safely. The aircraft is an autonomous, two-seater eVTOL aircraft that has been certified for flight testing by the FAA.
The milestone also resulted in the successful checkout of the company’s flight control system in flight and the end-to-end close of flight software. With the first flight achieved, Archer now plan to move forward with an extensive flight test campaign into 2022 and beyond.
Adam Goldstein, Archer co-founder and co-CEO, said: “Everything we’ve accomplished this year, every milestone hit and partnership struck, was all with one goal in mind: developing both an aircraft and a UAM ecosystem that could scale and change the face of intra-city travel
“With our first hover flight now completed, we’re one major step closer to that goal and have proven that Archer can work at a fast pace without sacrificing safety or quality. Our team stands ready to continue that pace as we work toward launching an aerial ride-sharing service in late 2024.”
In November, Archer’s dedicated flight test team, consisting of experts in flight test, battery, propulsion, flight controls, software and avionics, moved from the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto to a new flight test facility to prepare for this milestone.
Over the past two months, the team has been focused on Maker’s integration and ground testing in order to prepare Maker for a successful first hover flight, as well as ensuring it meets the FAA’s standards for airworthiness certification.
After being fully integrated, Maker moved into its ground testing phase, which included verification of the control and propulsion systems, along with driving the motors at full power, and then putting those motors through stress testing to ensure all systems were operational and ready to withstand flight testing. Upon completing an untethered test, which verified the entire propulsion and flight control system was functioning correctly, Archer’s flight test team approved the aircraft for its first flight.
The moment was particularly significant in aviation history as this week marks the 118th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903 – the moment where humanity officially took to the skies for the very first time. Eric Wright, a descendant of Orville and Wilbur, and Archer’s own head of certification, placed a historic piece of the Wright Flyer in Maker for its inaugural flight to mark the full circle moment.
Brett Adcock, Archer co-founder and co-CEO, added: “The past six months has been an incredible journey, from unveiling Maker to watching it take its first flight. It’s been humbling to build a leading eVTOL company and educate the public on clean transportation alternatives. Today is a milestone for both Archer and the future of travel. I’m extremely proud of this exceptional team.”
As Archer flies into the new year, this testing campaign will broaden to include hover envelope expansion, advancing Maker’s design capabilities and reaching higher altitudes. Following the hover expansion, the team will begin the transition envelope expansion ensuring Maker is able to move from hover to forward flight. While expanding Maker’s test flights, Archer also plans to unveil its piloted, four-seat production-intent aircraft in 2023.
Marc Lore, renowned entrepreneur and first investor in Archer, said: “As an early investor in Archer, it’s been rewarding to watch Archer grow as a company and really help shape the industry. What began as a mission-driven company to change how we think of daily transportation, has today proven that passion and mission can yield incredible results.
“I congratulate the whole team on today’s first hover flight accomplishment and look forward to seeing the way Archer’s unique mode of transportation shapes our cities of tomorrow.”