Californian-based eVTOL innovator Archer Aviation forecasts it will produce about 250 battery-electric air taxis in 2025. After that, it says it will ramp up production, but first, it needs to get the aircraft certified to fly.

This must be particularly encouraging news for United Airlines, (United) which in August put down a $10 million deposit on 100 of Archer Aviation’s (Archer) urban air mobility (UAM) aircraft. United had already committed to purchasing the 100 aircraft in 2021, with an estimated order value of $1 billion. The agreement also included purchase options worth an additional $500 million, and the deal means that United could have a fleet of up to 200 of Archer’s flying taxis. While pinning down a delivery date in this market is akin to the ‘proverbial tail on the donkey,’ 2024 was mentioned at the time.

Very confident about the schedule

Archer Aviation eVTOL Aircraft

Photo: Archer Aviation

It is also very rare for UAM company leaders to confidently and unambiguously detail their plans. Archer CEO Adam Goldstein had no such reservations in an interview with Reuters published yesterday.

“In our first year, we will build 250 aircraft, our second year will build 500 aircraft, our third year will build 650 aircraft, and then we scale it up to around 2,000 aircraft per year.”

A couple of weeks back, Archer announced it would unveil Midnight, its first production eVTOL aircraft, at an Open House event on November 16th. Besides revealing Midnight, Archer said it would provide details on the aircraft’s specifications, capabilities and progress toward Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification. On certification, Archer has said it aims to have approval by the end of 2024, although the FAA has yet to set the certification parameters.

Those fortunate enough to be at the Open House can view a test flight of Archer’s full-scale technology demonstrator at the company’s flight test facility. In August, Archer announced it had completed Midnight’s Preliminary Design Review (PDR), a step that validates the proposed design is expected to meet the functional and performance requirements and has sufficient maturity to proceed to the Critical Design Review (CDR).

It’s close to Midnight

Midnight eVTOL Teaser Silhouette
Photo: Archer Aviation 

Photo: Archer Aviation 

Midnight is a four-passenger plus pilot vehicle with an expected payload of 1,000+ pounds (454 kilograms). It has a charging turnaround time of about ten minutes to enable the types of flights Archer targets. The operating model envisages flights around the 20-mile (32 kilometers) range, fitting in with the ten-minute recharges and targeted at cross-city car trips that typically take an hour or more. Archer’s message has consistently been focused on using its vehicles to overcome urban congestion, even saying its pricing will be comparable to an Uber Black service. Goldstein said:

“From day one, Archer’s goal has been to build a commercially viable business that will revolutionize intra-city travel. We’ve made phenomenal progress in the development of our eVTOL aircraft technology, and I am excited to share the aircraft that will deliver on that vision as part of our Open House event.”

Maker has been doing all the work

Archer Air Taxi eVTOL First Flight 01

Photo: Archer Aviation

While Midnight may be new, Archer has been developing its first prototype since its unveiling in June 2021. Maker completed its first hover test flight in December and, after various modifications, returned to flight testing earlier this year. In July, Archer said Maker was moving into the third phase of flight testing, which will evaluate the aircraft’s performance at increasing forward speeds. Based on the current rate of progress, Archer said it expected the prototype to move to full transition flight by the end of this year.

What do you think about Archer’s plans to scale up production, and are they achievable?

Source: Reuters

  • United-Airlines-Boeing-777-300(ER)--1

    United Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    UA/UAL

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport, Guam International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport

    Year Founded:
    1931

    Alliance:
    Star Alliance

    CEO:
    Scott Kirby

    Country:
    United States

Source: simpleflying.com

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