I write a lot on unmanned electric aircraft and the advantages they provide (to people and the environment) as they take on many manned aircraft’s functions. What’s more, the accessibility of aviation to more people, even in a limited capacity, reduces costs and saves lives. However, unmanned electric flight cannot continue indefinitely.
Thankfully, things aren’t developing that way. Some electric fixed-wing aircraft, like the Eviation Alice, are already making a name for themselves. Additionally, e-VTOL aircraft, which can function as both planes and helicopters and meet human needs even in urban areas, are in high demand. Despite the fact that there aren’t many flying aircraft, there are a lot of designs that show great promise.
The company Archer Aviation is one of these. recent press release and a Reuters report both contain hints that the company would soon release actual products rather than simply representations. There are already some test planes in the air:
Archer Aviation, though, has much grander intentions. The business intends to unveil Midnight, its first eVTOL aircraft, in a matter of weeks. The event will cover further information about the engine’s capabilities and specifications, the status of Midnight’s FAA certification, and other specifics about the electric propulsion system.
After the PDR in August, Archer made the initial announcement of Midnight. The PDR discusses the viability of all the aircraft’s specifications and manufacturing needs in order to market it. Additionally, it establishes that the design would adhere to rules.
A pilot, four passengers, and a payload weighing more than 1,000 pounds are supported by Midnight. Archer’s urban air mobility (UAM) network operating model is made possible by the company’s target flights, which have a charging turnaround time of about 10 minutes.
“Archer’s objective has been to create a commercially successful company that will change intra-city transport from the beginning. The CEO of Archer, Adam Goldstein, said, “We’ve made incredible strides in the development of our eVTOL aircraft technology, and I’m pleased to share the aircraft that will realize that ambition as part of our Open House event.
United Airlines made a $10 million pre-delivery payment for 100 Midnight aircraft at the Open House event in August 2022. This demonstrated even more faith in the aircraft’s development. Attendees had the chance to watch a test flight of Archer’s full-scale technology demonstrator at its flight test facility in addition to learning about Midnight’s technical capabilities.
United Airlines and the international automaker Stellantis will both take part in the event prominently. Since the beginning, Stellantis has been a crucial component of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft development and is essential to the company’s aspirations for achieving large-scale aircraft manufacture.
Tom Muniz, Chief Operating Officer of Archer, stated that cooperation “has always been a cornerstone of our purpose.” Delivering a safe, sustainable revolution in air travel will require our combined vision and experience, and I am looking forward to sharing how we are doing this with the Archer team next month.
A few days ago, Reuters ran an article detailing an interview with the company’s CEO published a report outlining plans, one of which was to create 250 battery-powered air taxis by the end of 2025 and then ramp up production in the years that follow once they had received certification.
According to CEO Adam Goldstein, “in our first year, we will manufacture 250 aircraft, in our second, we will build 500 aircraft, in our third, we will build 650 aircraft, and then we scale it up to about 2,000 aircraft each year.”
The organization hopes to certify the soon-to-be-unveiled Midnight by the end of 2024, but it is difficult to forecast because the FAA is still developing rules for certifying that type of aircraft. Archer’s Midnight might be one of the first if they succeed in doing so as planned.
Once certified, the California-based startup’s electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (e-VTOL) aircraft will face off against dozens of other manufacturers in a crowded market. Joby Aviation Inc. and Vertical Aerospace Ltd. are two of its primary rivals in this market, both of which are attempting to innovate. Despite having the support of major actors, this new kind of aviation still has to overcome obvious obstacles like certification, air traffic control, and expanding the use of batteries. These factors will make e-VTOL challenging for both drones and manned aircraft.
The business told Reuters that once these difficulties are overcome, it anticipates a demand for approximately 1,000 devices annually.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT
It’s not need to look as far back as the 1950s and 1960s to find absurd science fiction that was more accurate in its predictions of today. Do we have trips to Jupiter and hotels in space like in 2001: A Space Odyssey (or its sequel movie)? Nope. But even as recently as 1989, it appeared like we might already have hoverboards and flying automobiles. Hoverboards would not have operated on water, but that is still preferable to their catching fire ( like they did in the 2015 in our timeline ), isn’t it?
My point is that non-flammable electric micromobility and urban air mobility could still be useful. Dreams of moving in 3D space and floating around cities while using clean electric power to reduce traffic and pollution shouldn’t be restricted to old films. The goal should be to continue doing this.
The advantages still exist and are still highly likely, even if no one will ever be able to “hover convert” their car (or Delorean time machine).
If we didn’t at least keep attempting to bring those old dreams at least somewhat closer to reality, the younger versions of us who grew up watching Back to the Future (or, if you’re older than me, liked it as an adult) would be kicking ourselves right about now. Fortunately, Archer is making a valiant effort to accomplish precisely that, so we can hold off on giving ourselves a quick kick to the shins.
Check in on making another Archer some of us had fun watching a reality if you’re reading this in the year 223, will ya?
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