California, USA-based eVTOL aircraft developer Archer Aviation has received Part 145 certification from regulator the FAA.
Part 145 certification is a key step towards commercially operating aircraft and means that Archer is authorized to repair aircraft.
Adam Goldstein, founder and CEO of Archer said, “As we continue to advance towards commercial operations, we will be working closely with the FAA and regulators around the world to ensure Archer’s aircraft are safe and ready to transform mobility, providing a sustainable, low noise, and cost competitive alternative to decongest our biggest cities.”
Archer is developing the five-seater Midnight eVTOL aircraft, which uses a proprietary twelve-tilt-six propeller configuration and is intended for short-distance trips of around 20 miles (32km) with a rapid charging time of approximately 10 minutes. Midnight has a maximum range of 100 miles (160km).
Archer plans to start certifying Midnight with the FAA later this year and then operate it within an urban air mobility (UAM) network it plans to launch next year.
This week the company also announced progress in constructing its first three conforming Midnight aircraft, with the aircraft set to begin final assembly at Archer’s manufacturing facility in San Jose, California during the coming weeks.
The three piloted aircraft will be used in flight testing, including for certification and have components and systems that conform to the intended type design.
“The key to achieving FAA certification is flying a conforming aircraft. I believe we are positioned to be the first in the sector to do so.” said Goldstein. “From day one, Archer’s strategy has been to build an aircraft that is certifiable and manufacturable at scale. This focus is what has allowed us to move quicker and more efficiently than any other company in the industry over the last few years.”
Archer was founded in 2018 and became embroiled in a legal battle with eVTOL aircraft rivals Wisk which in April 2021 alleged the startup had stolen trade secrets, test data and copied the design of its Cora aircraft. The two companies settled in August last year, with an agreement that included a provision that Wisk will become the exclusive provider of autonomous flying technology to Archer and a purchase of shares by Wisk’s parent company Boeing.