At its Open House event in Palo Alto, California, Archer Aviation Inc., a pioneer in eVTOL aircraft, publicly introduced Midnight, a pilot plus four-passenger eVTOL aircraft. Midnight is a development of Maker, Archer’s demonstration eVTOL aircraft, which has proven the viability of its unique twelve-tilt-six design and essential enabling technologies.
With an anticipated payload of more than 1,000 pounds, Midnight is made with safety, sustainability, and quietness in mind. It can also accommodate four passengers and a pilot. Midnight is designed for two consecutive short rides of up to 20 miles, with a charging break of about 10 minutes. After Midnight receives FAA certification in late 2024, Archer will employ it as a component of its UAM network, which it intends to debut in 2025.
“From day one Archer’s strategy has always been about finding the most efficient path to commercializing eVTOL aircraft,” said Adam Goldstein, Archer’s Founder and CEO. “We believe our strategy and team’s ability to execute on it has allowed us to establish our 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.”
By fusing high function and high emotion, Archer’s distinctive design approach for Midnight aims to create in passengers a desire to experience it, much like it did in our country during the 1950s’ Golden Age of Aviation. Midnight will pave the way in this new era of vertical flight, in Archer’s opinion. Modern aircraft systems and cutting-edge electric propulsion technology are combined by Midnight to create our eVTOL aircraft’s primary characteristics:
In comparison to a helicopter, an airplane is substantially safer because of its high redundancy and simplified propulsion systems. Midnight doesn’t have any single critical points of failure, therefore even if one component fails, the aircraft can still fly safely the rest of the way. In addition, Midnight’s electric motors have a lot less moving parts than gas turbine or piston engines do, which makes for easier operation and decreased danger all around.
With a cruising altitude of about 2,000 feet, Midnight is built with a noise level that is anticipated to be about 45 A-weighted decibels (dBA), or over 1,000 times quieter than that of a helicopter. Further reducing noise levels, the aircraft’s tilt propellers rotate during forward flight on axes that are parallel to the incoming air flow rather than edge-wise to the flow, as is the case with conventional helicopters. Instead of using a single huge rotor, Archer’s aircraft uses 12 little propellers, which allows it to spin them at considerably lower tip speeds and produce far less noise.
Midnight has no operational emissions because it is entirely electric says Archer. In order to power its aircraft, the company is dedicated to finding renewable energy wherever possible. For instance, the seats aboard Midnight are made of “flax” fiber, a naturally occurring plant that needs little watering and absorbs a lot of carbon dioxide. Additionally, cloth from recycled materials like plastic bottles is used in Archer’s design.
“We continue the push towards commercialization, with the vast 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.” said Mark Mesler, Archer’s CFO.
Midnight’s preliminary design evaluation, which covered every area of the aircraft’s specs and production needs, was finished by Archer in August, allowing it to make the determination that the design is practical for Type Certification and commercialization.
Only a year after its initial hover flight, Archer has likewise made quick progress in Maker’s flight testing program and is on track to perform a full transition flight in the upcoming weeks. By reaching this goal, Archer will be able to more fully validate the flight mechanics of its patented twelve-tilt-six arrangement, which it utilizes on both Maker and Midnight, as well as a number of the important enabling technologies, including the aircraft flight control system. The Maker flight test program produced priceless information that Archer used to help build and certify Midnight.