Archer Aviation has announced a first transition to full wing-borne flight for Maker less than 12 months after its first hover flight, concluding a period of intense testing.
Archer believes the flight milestone is a significant building block in its efforts to be the first company to certify an eVTOL aircraft in the US with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Maker has 12 propellers attached to six booms on a fixed wing, with all 12 providing vertical lift during take-off and landing. The forward 6 propellers tilt forward to cruise position to provide propulsion whilst in forward flight, with the wing providing aerodynamic lift like a conventional airplane. During its flight, Maker’s tilt propellers were locked in cruise position for the first time and the aircraft flew at a calibrated airspeed of 91 knots (105 mph).
“From day one, Archer’s strategy has always been about finding the most efficient path to commercializing eVTOL aircraft,” said Adam Goldstein, Archer’s Founder and CEO. “The data and experience we’ve gathered from Maker’s rigorous flight-testing program has been invaluable to the development and certification path of Midnight and lends further confidence to our belief that Archer will be the first company to certify an eVTOL aircraft in the US with the FAA.”
Dr. Geoff Bower, Archer’s Chief Engineer responsible for overseeing Maker’s flight test campaign, added: “This significant achievement is a testament to the countless hours of design, simulation and wind tunnel testing that our team has conducted behind-the-scenes. Looking forward to the commercialization of Midnight, we’ll continue to draw upon the incredible findings and lessons learned from Maker’s flight-testing program.”
According to Archer, the full transition milestone is critical to validating the flight physics of Archer’s proprietary 12-tilt-6 propeller configuration that it uses on Maker as well as Midnight. The Maker testing program is believed to have identified a number of key enabling technologies for Midnight, including the aircraft’s flight control system. Data has also been generated from the Maker flight test program that will be used in Midnight’s development and certification process.