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Urban air mobility hopeful Archer Aviation announced today (Feb. 7) final assembly on three conforming examples of its Midnight eVTOL aircraft is set to begin in the coming weeks. Piloted flight testing is expected to begin later this year. “For credit” FAA flight testing toward commercialization of the Midnight will use the three airframes.

The Midnight design incorporates six independent battery packs, each powering a pair of electric motors with vertical rotors that swing to horizontal position for cruise flight. While Archer expects the 150-mph Midnight to have a range of 100 miles, it is targeting 20- to 50-mile flights with quick-charge turnarounds of as little as 12 minutes between sorties. Operating costs are expected to be competitive with surface transportation, according to Archer, with each piloted aircraft carrying up to four passengers and luggage.

Archer Founder and CEO Adam Goldstein, said, “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. 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.”

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