Air taxi manufacturer Archer Aviation has become the second company to reach the final airworthiness criteria stage of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification for its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. 

The US-based company announced the milestone after the regulator published the criteria for public inspection, allowing Archer to work on final certification and testing approvals for its Midnight model.

Billy Nolen, Archer’s chief regulatory affairs officer, said: “Midnight is one giant step closer to taking passengers into the sky in the coming years in the U.S. The final airworthiness criteria for Midnight is an important step on our journey to make electric flying taxis an everyday reality.” 

The FAA’s criteria publication comes as Archer continues construction of its first fleet of Midnight aircraft that will be used in “for credit” piloted flight testing later this year. 

While the company has already conducted multiple tests of its eVTOL aircraft, the new models will be the first that conform to the airworthiness criteria, meaning tests on these vehicles will count towards the flight hours needed to achieve FAA certification. 

Archer’s CEO recently revealed that it had conducted more than 100 flights in Q1 of 2024 and was on track to achieve its goal of 400 flights in the full year.

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As it works towards certification Archer has been rapidly growing its operations, building two factories in the states of California and Georgia and recently signing a partnership with Etihad Aviation Training to recruit eVTOL pilots in Abu Dhabi.

Archer’s milestone with the FAA comes shortly after the regulator reached the same step with rival eVTOL manufacturer Joby, publishing the final airworthiness criteria for its JAS4-1 aircraft in March.