Start-up electric air taxi company Archer Aviation says it continues to progress toward certification of its four-person vertical take-off and landing vehicle “Midnight”, and a commercial entry-into-service date of 2025.

Speaking on the company’s quarterly earnings call on 11 May, chief executive Adam Goldstein said that the company has now submitted 15 of its 18 subject- specific certification plans to the Federal Aviation Administration.

“We have continued to make significant progress towards our goal of revolutionising urban mobility,” says chief executive Adam Goldstein. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to delivering safe, sustainable and low-noise urban air mobility beginning in 2025.”

“We feel strongly that we have the right product and the right team to bring this new industry to market at scale,” Goldstein adds.


Source: Archer Aviation

Archer Aviation presents its four-person electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) airframe, called Midnight

The Palo Alto-based company said its operating expenses rose to $112 million during the first quarter of the year, up from $65.3 million in the same period in 2022.

The costs were “primarily due to investments made in our Midnight programme, as well as investments in our infrastructure to support scaling our operations such as higher audit, tax and legal expenses”, the company’s quarterly letter to shareholders reads.

Archer’s loss during the first three months of the year was $113 million, almost double the $59.2 million it posted during the first quarter of 2022.

For the second quarter, the company says it expects operating expenses of between $110 million and $120 million.

“As we continue the push towards commercialisation, the vast majority of our resources are focused on completing the development and certification of Midnight, building out our manufacturing and supply chain capabilities and hardening our go-to-market plans,” the company says.

Earlier in the day, Archer said it has finished assembling a prototype of Midnight and aims to begin flight-testing the aircraft this summer. The prototype is not, however, the same aircraft Archer plans to use for certification flight tests – that work will fall to another variant now being produced. Archer aims to achieve regulatory certification of Midnight in time to begin passenger flights in 2025, though much remains uncertain due to still-unclear regulatory requirements.

The company also said it will complete final assembly of the conforming Midnight aircraft in San Jose rather than at its new facility in Covington, Georgia.

“We chose to build these conforming aircraft at our San Jose, California facility because it is just around the corner from our HQ thus allowing us to leverage the proximity to our design, engineering, certification and manufacturing teams,” Goldstein says. “Once those conforming aircraft are complete at our San Jose facility in the first half of 2024, we will transition the final assembly of our aircraft to our Covington, Georgia high-volume facility.”

The San Jose facility will continue to house the company’s engineering labs, but final assembly will shift to production of the aircraft’s electric powertrain (i.e., motors and battery packs) to support the ramp-up of production in Covington, the company adds.

Midnight will have 12 wing-mounted rotors and a V-tail, similar to the compnay’s first prototype, the smaller “Maker” aircraft. It will be designed to take off vertically, with its six front rotors tilting from vertical to horizontal positions as the aircraft transitions to forward flight.

Archer intends for Midnight to be optimised for operating back-to-back trips over distances of about 20mi (30km), with charging times of approximately 10min between flights, the company says. It will be able to carry payload exceeding 450kg (1,000lb).

That payload capability has drawn the interest of the military as well, Goldstein says.

“We have been working with the [Department of Defense] for several years, across several different programmes, from acoustics to autonomy,” he says. “As we have gotten deeper in, we have seen the DoD expand relationships across the industry.”

The discussion around payload “has increased the volume of conversation that we have been having and that has been driving the deepening activity”.

Goldstein says that Archer will be “participating prominently at the Paris Air Show and Midnight “will be making its European debut” at the show, which is due to take place on 19-25 June.