Aug 17, 2023
Archer Aviation Inc. (NYSE: ACHR), a leader in electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, today announced that its Midnight eVTOL aircraft has continued hitting key certification milestones on schedule, with the FAA recently starting to approve Archer’s certification plans for its Midnight production aircraft and recently issuing its first Midnight aircraft a Special Airworthiness Certificate allowing it to begin flight test operations. These milestone achievements pave the way for Archer to start “for credit” testing of piloted Midnight aircraft, which is expected in early 2024. Archer’s focus on realistic innovation and strategically sourcing many of the key components used in Midnight from leading aerospace suppliers positions the company to accelerate its momentum in the race to be the first to bring eVTOL aircraft to market in the U.S.
Archer’s strategic approach to aircraft development and certification with the FAA has kept the company’s certification program on schedule by leaning on the strong safety, certification and manufacturing track record of its globally recognized suppliers, including the likes of Honeywell, Garmin, and Safran, for key aircraft components that are used throughout Midnight. Those relationships coupled with the strategy of focusing on developing in-house only the key enabling technologies has allowed Archer to invest only where it is needed to help ensure that the company’s Midnight aircraft can achieve its performance goals necessary for supporting a sustainable business model. This means Archer is not developing components like flight control computers, where its strategic supplier partners already have well-developed experience, intellectual property, certification history, and scaled manufacturing capabilities in place.
Archer’s strategy is yielding a significantly simpler and more focused scope of certification work to complete in the “implementation” phase of Midnight’s certification program, than if Archer had chosen to develop all of the core aircraft components and systems in house. This intentional strategy has allowed Archer’s team to advance efficiently through its certification program to date, which Archer believes positions it to progress through the final “for credit” phase of the FAA’s Type Certification process even more efficiently.
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“With each passing quarter and each milestone hit on schedule, we continue to prove our steadfast strategy and execute on our goal of achieving the most efficient path to market – optimizing our aircraft for certification, manufacturing, and commercial operation,” said Archer Chief Operating Officer, Tom Muniz. “Needless to say, our strategy is paying off and we thank the FAA for their team’s ongoing collaboration with Archer to provide the right framework to certify our eVTOL aircraft and safely integrate them into the national airspace.”
“I’m encouraged by how the Department of Transportation and the FAA have dramatically accelerated the pace of activity to further advanced air mobility recently, and we applaud them for appropriately making AAM a top priority within the Biden Administration,” said former FAA Administrator and current Archer Chief Safety Officer, Billy Nolen. “It’s critical for the U.S. to maintain our global leadership of the aerospace sector and the Administration is demonstrating they have provided the incentives and resources to ensure our nation remains at the forefront of this new industry.”
Archer’s first Midnight aircraft is on track to be the first ever eVTOL aircraft delivered to a customer pursuant to Archer’s recently announced landmark AFWERX contracts with a potential value of up to $142M(1). The company is on schedule to hand off its Midnight aircraft to the U.S. Air Force by the end of this year or early in 2024.
Archer’s goal is to transform urban travel, replacing 60-90 minute commutes by car, with estimated 10-20 minute electric air taxi flights that are safe, sustainable, low noise and cost competitive with ground transportation. With a range of up to 100 miles, Archer’s Midnight is a piloted, four passenger aircraft designed to perform rapid back-to-back flights with minimal charge time in between flights.