Archer Aviation has today publicly unveiled its production aircraft, Midnight, a pilot-plus-four-passenger eVTOL aircraft during an Open House event in Palo Alto, California, reports a press release. Midnight is a development of Archer’s demonstrator aircraft, Maker.
Midnight has been constructed for short distance trips of around 20-miles, with a charging time of approximately 10 minutes in-between. Presently, Archer is working to certify Midnight with the FAA for late 2024 and will then employ the craft as part of its UAM network, which, says Archer, it aims to launch in 2025.
Adam Goldstein, Archer’s co-Founder and CEO, commented, “From day one Archer’s strategy has always been about finding the most efficient path to commercialising eVTOL aircraft. We believe our strategy and team’s ability has allowed us to establish a leadership position in the market, and is why we are confident we will be the first company to certify an eVTOL aircraft in the US with the FAA.”
Archer’s approach to designing Midnight focuses on various cutting-edge and state-of-the-art key areas.
Safety: High redundancy and simplified propulsion systems make for a significantly safer aircraft compared to a helicopter. Midnight has no single critical points of failure, meaning that should any single component fail, the aircraft can still safely complete its flight. In addition, the electric motors used in Midnight have significantly less moving parts than those found in a gas turbine or piston engine, allowing it to operate with less maintenance and lower overall risk.
Low noise: Designed to cruise at approximately 2,000 feet, the design of Midnight is such that the noise which reaches the ground, is expected to measure around 45 A-weighted decibels (dBA), almost 1,000 times quieter than that of a helicopter. During forward flight, the aircraft’s tilt propellers spin on axes that are aligned with the oncoming air flow, rather than edge-wise to the flow, as is the case with traditional helicopters – further decreasing noise levels. Since Archer’s aircraft is spinning 12 small propellers rather than one large rotor, it can also spin them at significantly lower tip speeds, resulting in much lower noise levels.
Sustainable: Midnight is all electric, resulting in zero operating emissions. Archer is committed to sourcing renewable energy wherever possible to power its aircraft. Archer’s design and engineering teams have worked to integrate materials into this aircraft that have their own unique sustainability. For example, Midnight’s seats are constructed out of “flax” fibre, a natural plant which requires very little irrigation and is highly absorbent of CO2. In addition, Archer’s design uses fabric made from recycled contents like plastic bottles.
Mark Mesler, Archer’s CFO, remarked, “We continue the push towards commercialisation, with a majority of our resources focused on completing the development and certification of Midnight, building out our manufacturing and supply chain capabilities and hardening our go-to-market plans.”
Archer is making rapid aircraft progress and is on schedule to complete a full transition flight in the coming weeks, just twelve months after its first Maker hover flight.
The release states, “Achieving this milestone will further validate the flight physics of Archer’s proprietary twelve-tilt-six configuration that it uses on both Maker and Midnight, as well as a number of the key enabling technologies, such as the aircraft flight control system.” It adds, “The Maker flight test program has generated invaluable data that Archer has leveraged in the development and certification path of Midnight.”
News and information surrounding the Open House event is available at:
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Picture credits: Archer.