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Archer’s Midnight aircraft “completes phase one of flight test programme in FAA certification”

Archer Aviation announced today that the company’s Midnight aircraft has hit another milestone with completion of Phase One of its flight test programme. The company says that utilising learnings from the previous four years of flight testing, Archer’s Midnight aircraft finished the flight test phase in approximately three months, which is significantly faster than Archer’s full-scale prototype aircraft – Maker. Additionally, the company reports Midnight’s battery system has recently been upgraded to include some of the first high voltage battery packs off of Archer’s manufacturing line at its San Jose, California facilities, which it describes as a significant step as the company pushes towards being production-ready.

“Phase 1 of Midnight’s flight test program covered an array of progressively more complex flight maneuvers and data gathering missions” according to the press release. “Midnight’s flight envelope will now expand further as it moves into Phase 2, which involves an incremental approach to speed testing. This means that the aircraft will continue to fly at greater and greater speeds until it achieves full wing-borne transition. Transition is an important milestone for any vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, as it demonstrates in a single flight the capability to both takeoff and land vertically and cruise efficiently in wingborne flight. Once that’s completed, the aircraft will move to Phase 3, which entails flying simulated commercial routes to demonstrate the aircraft’s operational readiness.”

Archer says that its goal is to replace 60–90-minute commutes by car with estimated 10-20 minute electric air taxi flights that are safe, sustainable, low noise, and cost-competitive with ground transportation. Archer’s Midnight is a piloted, four-passenger aircraft designed to perform “rapid back-to-back flights with minimal charge time between flights”.

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(Image: Archer Aviation)

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