US-based electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft manufacturer Archer Aviation (AA) has flown its Midnight aircraft for the first time.
The uncrewed and tethered test flight was the first full-scale test of the air taxi and paved the way for further testing.
This “milestone” comes after four years of flight testing, according to AA.
Midnight’s flight test programme will continue to full wing-borne flight in the coming months, with the intention to approach the FAA for certification in 2024.
Archer’s founder and CEO Adam Goldstein said the test proved AA is on track to begin offering customer services in two years’ time.
Goldstein said: “This next phase of Archer’s flight test programme is only possible because of the four years of flight testing we’ve done. Midnight is building on the successes of its predecessor aircraft and represents another significant step forward in Archer’s path to commercialisation.
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“The next year and a half will be focused on continuing to rapidly advance our flight test programme and Archer’s electric air taxi operations as we prepare to bring Midnight to market in 2025.”
The Midnight eVTOL will be a piloted, four-passenger aircraft that has the capability of flying up to 100 miles and is optimised for regular 20-to-50-mile urban trips.
According to AA, the Midnight aircraft has been engineered for speeds of up to 150mph, turning “long-hour commutes into minutes”.
AA emphasised the Midnight aircraft’s quick charging capabilities, allowing it to do 20-mile trips back-to-back with only 12 minutes of charge time in between.
This announcement is indicative of the rapid growth of the eVTOL market over the past decade. According to research from GlobalData, over 500 eVTOL designs have been published since 2011.