The Road to Commercial Services Is Hard and Slow When It Comes to Fully Electric Air Taxis

The Midnight air taxi kicks off the final flight test campaign 7 photos
Photo: Archer Aviation
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The road to commercial services is hard and slow when it comes to fully electric air taxis. The eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) developers that have embarked on this strenuous journey have to face many challenges, but milestones such as this one make everything worthwhile.
Archer Aviation, undoubtedly one of the most successful players in the AAM (Advanced Air Mobility) sector so far, reached a major milestone with Midnight's first flight.

Midnight is the aviation company's commercial aircraft, which has already convinced big names like United Airlines and the US Air Force. As important as this first flight is, it's only the beginning. Midnight will continue to conduct flight tests for the next year and a half, on its way to full FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certification.

The target for the next few months is to get from hover to full wing-borne flight – this transition is the most challenging part of eVTOL flight testing. Simulated commercial routes will also be added to the testing program later on.

Prior to Midnight, Archer conducted extensive flight testing with its full-scale prototype known as Maker. This took two long years, and it was part of a total of four years dedicated to flight tests alone.

At the end of this final phase that kicked off this week, the Midnight electric aircraft will be ready to hit the market in 2025.

Archer officially introduced Midnight towards the end of last year after the automotive giant Stellantis was confirmed as the exclusive contract manufacturer of the Midnight eVTOL.

Earlier this month, the aviation company shared more details about its future production facility in Covington, Georgia. It has already initiated construction for what is expected to become the largest one of its kind in the world, judging by its capacity. Plus, if the construction is completed as planned, it will also make this the first eVTOL production plant in the world.

Initially, the factory will unfold over 350,000 square feet (32,500 square meters), enough to support a capacity of 650 units per year. Later on, after a significant expansion, the factory will grow to 900,000 square feet (83,600 square meters) in support of a huge production capacity. Archer and Stellantis are determined to eventually roll out 2,000 aircraft per year.

Midnight is a four-passenger (plus the pilot) air taxi with a payload of more than 1,000 lbs (453 kg) and a maximum speed of 150 mph (241 kph). It promises nearly silent operations in urban centers, claiming to be 100 times quieter compared to standard helicopters. It also promises zero-emission, fast commutes. It could complete a car journey that normally takes from 60 to 90 minutes in just 10 to 20 minutes, and it only needs 10 minutes for a charging turnaround.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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