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Archer Aviation

Archer Midnight

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Maker achieves first full transition flight for Archer
The demonstrator has completed a first full transition flight less than a year after its first hover flight; one of a small number of full scale eVTOLs to achieve this feat and a significant step towards FAA certification.
Overflow CFD simulation showing aerodynamic interactions between propellers and airframe during transition.

Archer Aviation's demonstrator eVTOL aircraft Maker has successfully completed its first transition to full wing-borne flight on 29 November, 2022. The Maker has 12 propellers attached to six booms on a fixed wing. All 12 propellers provide vertical lift during take off and landing. The forward six propellers tilt forward to cruise position to provide propulsion during forward flight, with the wing providing aerodynamic lift like a conventional aeroplane. During this flight, the Maker's tilt propellers were locked in cruise position for the first time and the aircraft flew at a calibrated airspeed of 91 knots (105 mph).

Achieving this full transition milestone is critical to validating the flight physics of Archer's proprietary 12-tilt-six propeller configuration that it uses on the Maker as well as the Midnight, the production aircraft Archer recently unveiled at its open house and is working to certify with the FAA for late 2024. The success of the Maker flight testing programme also demonstrates a number of the key enabling technologies for the Midnight, such as the aircraft's flight control system. The Maker flight test programme has generated invaluable data that Archer has leveraged in the development and certification process for the Midnight. Archer has made rapid progress on the Maker's flight testing programme, completing this transition to fully wing-borne flight in less than 12 months after its first hover flight.

“From day one, Archer's strategy has always been about finding the most efficient path to commercialising eVTOL aircraft,” says founder and CEO Adam Goldstein. “The data and experience we've gathered from the Maker's rigorous flight testing programme has been invaluable to the development and certification path of the Midnight and lends further confidence to our belief that Archer will be the first company to certify an eVTOL aircraft in the US with the FAA.”

“This significant achievement is a testament to the countless hours of design, simulation and wind tunnel testing that our team has conducted behind the scenes,” says chief engineer Dr Geoff Bower, who was responsible for overseeing the Maker's flight test campaign. Dr Bower has over a decade of experience in the eVTOL aircraft industry, during which he has helped design and build four full scale eVTOL aircraft that have successfully completed flight test campaigns.

He adds: “Looking forward to the commercialisation of the Midnight, we'll continue to draw upon the incredible findings and lessons learned from Maker's flight testing programme.”

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Just seven months after Midnight's first flight, Archer has now successfully transitioned its production eVTOL aircraft as the company continues to build momentum towards commercialisation.
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