Archer Achieves First Untethered Flight with Midnight eVTOL

Archer’s Midnight production prototype eVTOL completed its first hover flight on Oct. 24 at the company’s Santa Clara, California facility. (Image: Archer Aviation)

On Oct. 24, Santa Clara, California-based electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) manufacturer Archer Aviation completed the first flight of its five-seat Midnight prototype aircraft. This milestone builds on Archer’s four years of flight testing, including two years of full-scale flight testing with its smaller two-seat Maker eVTOL technology demonstrator.

Archer first unveiled Midnight as a prototype of its production eVTOL in November 2022, powered by six independent battery packs each supporting a pair of electric engines and a 100-mile range at speeds of up to 150 mph. The recent untethered hover flight was the latest eVTOL development program milestone for Archer, which has already established future aircraft purchase and investment agreements with the U.S. Air Force and United Airlines among others.

“This next phase of Archer’s flight test program is only possible because of the four years of flight testing we’ve done. Midnight is building on the successes of its predecessor aircraft and represents another significant step forward in Archer’s path to commercialization,” Archer CEO Adam Goldstein said, remarking on the first flight. “The next year and a half will be focused on continuing to rapidly advance our flight test program and Archer’s electric air taxi operations as we prepare to bring Midnight to market in 2025.”

As Archer’s flight test program continues to advance, Midnight’s flight envelope is expected to progress rapidly from hover to full wing-borne transition flight in the coming months, paving the way for the company to begin “for credit” testing of its Midnight aircraft with the FAA next year as it works towards entry into service in 2025.

Simultaneous with the Midnight flight test program, Archer intends to continue Maker’s flight test program as well as flying simulated commercial routes to continue to advance the company’s operational readiness.

Archer’s goal is to transform urban travel, replacing 60–90-minute commutes by car with estimated 10-20 minute electric air taxi flights. Midnight is a piloted, four-passenger aircraft designed to perform rapid back-to-back flights with minimal charge time between flights.