At its Open House event in Palo Alto, California, Archer Aviation, a pioneer in eVTOL aircraft, publicly introduced Midnight, a pilot-plus four-passenger eVTOL aircraft. Midnight is the evolution of Maker, an eVTOL demonstrator aircraft from Archer that has proven the viability of its unique twelve-tilt-six arrangement and other critical 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.
As part of its UAM network, which it intends to implement in 2025, Archer will deploy Midnight once it has been certified by the FAA in late 2024.
From day one Archer’s strategy has always been about finding the most efficient path to commercializing eVTOL aircraft. 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- said Adam Goldstein, Archer’s Founder and CEO
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 the 1950s Golden Age of Aviation. Midnight, in Archer’s opinion, will take the lead in this new era of vertical flying.
Modern aircraft systems are combined with cutting-edge electric propulsion technology by Midnight to create the essential characteristics of the eVTOL aircraft:
- Safety : In comparison to a helicopter, the eVTOL 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. Midnight’s electric motors also require substantially less maintenance and have a reduced risk of failure than gas turbine or piston engines since they have fewer moving components.
- Low noise : The noise of Midnight, which is built to cruise at about 2,000 feet, is anticipated to register around 45 A-weighted decibels (dBA), which is nearly 1,000 times lower than that of a helicopter. Further reducing noise levels, the aircraft’s tilt propellers spin 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.
- Sustainable : Midnight has no operational emissions because it is entirely electric. In order to power its aircraft, Archer is dedicated to finding renewable energy wherever possible. The design and engineering teams at Archer put forth a lot of effort to include materials with distinct sustainability stories into this aircraft. 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.
In order to evaluate whether the design is practical for Type Certification and commercialization, Archer concluded Midnight’s preliminary design assessment in August, which covered every area of the aircraft’s specifications and manufacturing needs.
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
Within a year of 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 support the flight dynamics of its exclusive twelve-tilt-six configuration, which it uses on Maker and Midnight.