Archer Aviation is adding a flight to make up for traffic jams that sometimes make the drive to or from the airport longer than the flight. By 2025, the company’s new Midnight Sky Taxi will be 100% electric and able to take up to four people and a small amount of luggage from cities to airports.
Archer had already shown Maker, which is like Midnight but smaller. The two-seat Maker has the same 12-rotor design and eVTOL as the Midnight. Since Maker’s launch in late 2021, the company has conducted more than 1,000 test flights. However, these were just to show how the technology worked. Now, it will test Midnight before putting it on sale to the public.
Maker’s wingspan is 40 feet, while Midnight’s is 47 feet. It weighs 6,500 pounds and has a 1,000-pound capacity. The FAA says that men can weigh up to 200 pounds and carry 179 pounds. When all four seats are taken, it’s hard to move around.
Midnight has six rotors per wing, like Maker. The last three give lift all the way through the flight. The front rotors start out upright to help the plane take off, and then they turn forward to move the plane forward. During landing, the front rotors go straight up. Midnight can fly 20 miles back-to-back after a 10-minute break. It can go up to 150 mph and 50 miles.
The company’s full-scale eVTOL will fly at 2,000 feet and be 45 decibels (dBA) quieter than current helicopters. Archer thinks that Midnight’s electric motors are safer and easier to keep up with than turbine or piston engines.
Future Flight thinks that after a design change, Archer might start testing Midnight in the air again next year. It needs FAA certification before it can carry people, but the company thinks that might happen by 2024. In 2025, the first commercial services should start. United Airlines has put down $10 million on 100 Midnight planes that will be used for its planned sky taxi service in Manhattan.
Electric flight is on the way.
The Midnight could be a game-changer for business, and it will help people get around huge cities. Archer said that the new plane is designed to make back-to-back short trips of 20 miles at 150 mph with 10 minutes of charging time in between.
The plane’s maker says that it should be able to fly at 2,000 feet and be 1,000 times quieter than a helicopter at ground level. To make less noise, the Midnight has 12 small propellers instead of one big rotor.
CEO of Archer Aviation Adam Goldstein said,
Archer’s goal has always been to make eVTOL aircraft work well for business. We think that our plan and our team’s ability to carry it out have given us a strong position in the market. This is why we are sure that we will be the first company to get an eVTOL aircraft certified by the FAA in the US.
Ideal for a start.
United’s UAM network is in the perfect place at EWR. The plane can take people from Manhattan to places in New Jersey.
Mayor Eric Adams talked about the service as well.
“Archer and United have decided that their first route will be to New York City. We want New York to be a place where people take risks and try new things, and I encourage other companies to do the same.”
Archer said that it takes less than ten minutes to get from Downtown Manhattan to EWR. During rush hour, it can take an hour or more to go the same distance.
Michael Leskinen, president of United Airlines Ventures, said that customers will benefit from the airline’s partnership with Archer.
- Once they are working, electric air taxis will change how United passengers get to the airport. Archer’s route from New York to Newark is safe, doesn’t produce any carbon dioxide, cuts travel time, and makes less noise than helicopters.
Archer plans to expand its UAM network once launch routes between major hubs and cities are set up. After getting approval from the FAA in late 2024, the company hopes to use the Midnight in 2025.
The first route t
On November 10, United and Archer said that New York would be the first eVTOL route. The Midnight will fly between Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, which is above Battery Park on Pier 6.
Archer said that the heliport is the first place where its Urban Air Mobility (UAM) network is going to take off and land in the New York Metropolitan Area.
“We’re happy to confirm that New York will be the first of many routes that United and we will announce together,” said Goldstein. We’re excited to work with state and local governments in New York and New Jersey to make this new kind of transportation a reality.
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