Ampaire hybrid-electric regional jet flies



Archer Aviation Inc. publicly unveiled its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) production aircraft, Midnight, in Palo Alto, California. Midnight is the evolution of Archer’s eVTOL demonstration aircraft, Maker, which validated its proprietary 12-tilt-6 configuration and key technologies.

Midnight is designed to be safe, durable, quiet and, with its rated payload of over 1,000 lbs, can carry four passengers plus a pilot. Midnight is optimized for consecutive short trips of around 20 miles, with a charging time of around 10 minutes in between. Archer is working to certify Midnight with the FAA in late 2024 and will then use it as part of its Urban Air Mobility (UAM) network, which it plans to launch in 2025.

“Since day one, Archer’s strategy has always been to find the most efficient route to market for eVTOL aircraft,” said Adam Goldstein, Founder and CEO of Archer. “We believe that our strategy and our team’s ability to execute it has enabled us to establish our leading position in the market.”

Midnight combines state-of-the-art electric propulsion technology with state-of-the-art aircraft systems to deliver:

• Security. High redundancy and simplified propulsion systems make it a significantly safer aircraft than a helicopter. Midnight has no single critical point of failure, which means that in the event of a single component failure, the aircraft can still safely complete its flight. Additionally, the electric motors used in Midnight have far fewer moving parts than those found in a gas turbine or piston engine, allowing it to operate with less maintenance and lower overall risk.

• Low noise. Designed to cruise at around 2,000 feet, Midnight’s design is such that the noise that reaches the ground should be around 45 A-weighted decibels (dBA), nearly 1,000 times quieter than that of a helicopter. During forward flight, the aircraft’s tilting propellers rotate on axes aligned with the oncoming airflow, rather than at the edges of the flow, as is the case with traditional helicopters – further reducing noise levels. Since Archer’s plane spins 12 small propellers rather than a single large rotor, he can also spin them at significantly lower top speeds, resulting in much lower noise levels.

• Sustainability. Midnight is fully electric, resulting in zero operating emissions. Archer is committed to sourcing renewable energy whenever possible to power its aircraft. Archer’s design and engineering teams have incorporated materials into the aircraft with their own unique sustainability stories. For example, Midnight’s seats are made of flax fiber, a natural plant that requires very little irrigation and is very good at absorbing CO.2. Additionally, Archer’s design uses fabric made from recycled content such as plastic bottles.

“We are continuing our commercialization efforts, with the vast majority of our resources dedicated to completing the development and certification of Midnight, building our manufacturing and supply chain capabilities, and strengthening our rollout plans. market,” said Mark Mesler, Archer’s CFO.

In August, Archer completed Midnight’s preliminary design review covering all aspects of the aircraft’s specifications and manufacturing requirementswhich allowed him to determine that the design is feasible for type certification and commercialization.

Archer has also made rapid progress on Maker’s flight test program and is on schedule to complete a full transition flight in the coming weeks, just 12 months after its first hover. Reaching this milestone will further validate the flight physics of Archer’s proprietary 12-tilt-6 configuration it uses on both Maker and Midnight, as well as several key enabling technologies, such as the airplane flight. The Maker flight test program generated invaluable data which Archer used in the development and certification of Midnight.

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