Video: Archer’s air taxi completes transition at 100 mph

13 June 2024

Air taxi startup Archer Aviation has successfully completed transition flying at a speed over 100 mph. The test is the second full-scale electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft Archer has achieved transition in flight.

Archer said its Midnight aircraft, at 6,500 lbs, is one of the largest eVTOL to complete transition, a milestone needed to be able to carry commercially viable passenger payloads. Archer's first-generation full-scale aircraft, dubbed Maker, was the first to achieve transition in November of 2022.

Transition flight occurs when the aircraft takes off vertically like a helicopter then accelerates forward and transitions from thrust-borne to wing-borne flight like an airplane. At this point, the propellers tilt forward before decelerating and landing vertically.

The transition flight comes about a year after completing the final assembly of the first Midnight eVTOL in 2023. After the completion, Archer said it would begin ground and flight testing. Midnight, which was revealed in 2022, will be an air taxi with a range of 100 miles and carry a payload of more than 1,000 lbs and four passengers plus a pilot.

Midnight is a piloted, four-passenger aircraft designed to perform back-to-back flights with minimal charge time between flights, Archer said.

The transition flight is another step toward Archer's commercialization of the Midnight air taxi. Archer's goal is to use its eVTOL aircraft as a new urban travel method, replacing 60-to-90-minute commutes by automobile with a 10-to-20-minute air taxi flight.

As part of its urban travel strategy, United invested $10 million in Archer to obtain 100 air taxis from that eVTOL startup. United and Archer have also rolled out initial routes for urban air taxi flights.

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