US air taxi developer Archer Aviation has opened an office in Washington DC focused on regulatory affairs that will be led by Billy Nolen, former acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

The new office in the nation’s capital will “bolster government relations” as California-based Archer pushes for FAA certification of its in-development Midnight air taxi. It will be located near the headquarters of both the FAA and the US Department of Transportation. 

“This strategic move is part of our proactive approach to progressing through the regulatory process here in the US as efficiently as possible so that we can help ensure our country continues to define the future of global aviation,” Nolen says. 


Source: Archer Aviation

Archer plans to roll out the red carpet for policymakers at its new office in Washington DC 

Nolen was hired as Archer’s chief safety officer in June 2023 – less than a week after resigning from his position as acting FAA administrator, leaving the interim role to Polly Trottenberg. The civil aviation regulator’s top job has since been filled by former airline and air taxi executive Bill Whitaker.

Nolen will now work as chief regulatory affairs officer. Archer did not indicate whether he would be replaced as chief safety officer. 

”Billy Nolen will still play an important role, given his experience, in Archer’s safety culture,” the start-up tells FlightGlobal. ”He will support Archer’s safety leads that were already in place on the engineering side, as well as our airline team who oversees the implementation of our safety management system.” 

Additionally, the office has added Melissa McCaffrey, who formerly led the government affairs division of Southern California electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) maker Overair. She will spearhead state and local government affairs. 

At Overair, McCaffrey’s role involved ”advocating at all levels of government for key positions on policies and regulations in support of the advanced air mobility industry”, Archer says. 

The Santa Clara-headquartered company has also added in advisory capacity former senior advisor to the US Secretary of Transportation Lynda Tran. 

”We’ve made some key hires on our regulatory affairs team to educate and collaborate with policymakers on establishing the proper regulatory foundation for electric air taxis to thrive in our country for decades to come,” says chief executive Adam Goldstein on LinkedIn. 

Archer’s Washington DC office will feature a display area in which to court lawmakers and regulators. 

“Showcasing our leading eVTOL aircraft technologies to leaders in the nation’s capital will help bring to life our vision to transform cities by reducing traffic with safe, quiet electric air taxis,” Nolen says. 

Archer is aiming to certificate its piloted, four-passenger air taxi in 2025 and appears likely to first enter revenue-generating service in the Middle East.