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Another Archer eVTOL Completes a Successful Transition Flight

Another Archer eVTOL Completes a Successful Transition Flight

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One of the leading eVTOL makers just achieved another huge milestone.

Archer Aviation has announced that its Midnight aircraft just completed its first successful hover-to-horizontal flight transition a mere seven months after making its maiden flight, according to New Atlas. The aircraft reached flying speeds of over 100 mph during the exercise..

A transition flight is a huge step in the development process of any eVTOL. It’s the point when the aircraft finally proves that it can do what it is meant to do. During a transition flight, the eVTOL rises into the air like a helicopter, accelerates forward, switches from thrust-borne to wing-borne flight, and then decelerates before landing vertically. Only a handful of eVTOLs, like the Joby Aviation S4 and the Autoflight Prosperity 1, have even managed the feat. This is Archer’s second to do so, as the Maker completed its own transition flight in late 2022.

Archer has shared an uncut video of the Midnight’s momentous, which took place on June 8, flight on its YouTube channel. In the nine-minute-long clip, the eVTOL can be seen taking off from an airfield in Salinas, California. After hovering in place for a few moments, the aircraft shoots forward, soaring around the surrounding rural landscape before returning to the airfield and landing on its initial takeoff spot.

The flight suggests that Archer may be able to put the Midnight into service as an air taxi in the near future. The company’s latest eVTOL is equipped with 12 wing-mounted tilting propellers. The aircraft tips the scales at around 6,500 pounds and will be able to carry a pilot and four passengers, with a payload capacity of 1,000 pounds. The aircraft, which will eventually be able to reach a speed of more than 150 mph, gets its power from an array of six battery packs, which the company claims will allow it to make back-to-back 20-mile trips with small charging breaks in between.

“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,” Archer’s chief engineer, Dr. Geoff Bower, said in a statement. “I’m extremely proud of Archer’s team as we have now achieved this milestone with two generations of full-scale aircraft.”

Archer now intends to begin flying simulated commercial routes in the coming months before moving on to piloted tests later this year. The company has previously said it was targeting 2025 for a full-scale launch. It’s unclear if that remains the case, but Archer continues to pursue all the necessary certifications for its eVTOL.

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