Archer hits new eVTOL milestone, completing a transition flight that topped 100 mph [Video]


Archer hits new eVTOL milestone, completing a transition flight that topped 100 mph [Video]

Archer Aviation continues to make developmental headway in its quest to commercial eVTOL operations. Archer recently completed a successful transition flight—one of the trickiest maneuvers to overcome in eVTOL design. The advanced air mobility developer filmed the entire journey, reaching flight speeds of over 100 mph.

Archer Aviation ($ACHR) is a California-based eVTOL developer that has quickly become a recognizable name in the nascent segment of advanced air mobility (AAM).

In recent months, much of our coverage has pertained to Archer’s business side of eVTOL travel. The company has established several new partnerships in the US and around the world to commercialize its technology for air taxi rides and cargo transport.

For example, Archer plans to launch eVTOL air taxi services in the United Arab Emirates and India. Just last month, Archer also announced a new partnership with KaKaoMobility in South Korea to begin commercial eVTOL air taxi operations in the country by 2026.

With FAA certification now in place to begin commercial eVTOL operations in the US, Archer remains focused on fine-tuning its flagship Midnight aircraft to ensure safe operation before it starts putting passengers onboard.

As an eVTOL, Archer’s Midnight aircraft takes off vertically like a helicopter, then transitions its rotors mid-air to propel itself forward like an airplane before transitioning back upright to lower itself down for safe landing. As the Archer team points out in the video below, the transition phase is one of the most complicated and tricky maneuvers to handle, so achieving such a milestone is a big deal.

Archer eVTOL transition
Source: Archer Aviation

Watch the Archer eVTOL complete a transition flight

Per Archer, its Midnight eVTOL completed a successful transition flight on June 8, 2024, reaching flight speeds of over 100 mph. This milestone marks the company’s second transition using a full-scale eVTOL aircraft.

Archer’s initial transition flight took place in November 2022, using its first-generation full-scale eVTOL aircraft, “Maker.”

At approximately 6,500 pounds, the next-generation, production-intent Midnight aircraft has the makings to be one of the largest and heaviest eVTOLs in the segment, adding clout to its transition flight milestone. Archer’s chief engineer, Dr. Geoff Bower, spoke explicitly about the Midnight eVTOL and what the company’s successful test flight means for its future in AAM:

Successfully completing the transition from hover to wing-borne flight with a full-scale eVTOL aircraft is a tremendous engineering feat that only a handful of companies in the world have achieved. Over the seven eVTOL aircraft I’ve built and flown in my career, they have gotten progressively larger as we pursued payloads that made the aircraft platform commercially viable. Midnight is believed to be one of the largest eVTOL aircraft ever to achieve transition and one of the first that is purpose built to carry enough passengers to be able to operate a successful air taxi business. I’m extremely proud of Archer’s team as we have now achieved this milestone with two generations of full-scale aircraft.

Following its transition flight, Archer says it will continue the Midnight’s flight test program, which includes plans to fly simulated commercial routes, execute high-rate flight operations, and test additional flight maneuvers used in commercial operations. All while continuing to work to improve the eVTOL’s speed and flight endurance.

Following the previously mentioned FAA certification, the company also said the Midnight eVTOL remains on track for its final “implementation” phase of its Type Certification program. That will include piloted flight testing later this year. You can watch Archer’s full eVTOL transition test in the video below:

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