Archer Aviation unveiled the production version of its eVTOL aircraft on Thursday in Palo Alto, California. Named “Midnight,” the aircraft is designed for urban air mobility, operating on short distance trips of about 20 miles with a charging time of approximately 10 minutes between flights. It can carry four passengers plus the pilot.
The all-electric aircraft is designed to fly at about 2,000 feet, and the company says it will be 1,000 times quieter than a helicopter. Six small downward-facing propellers provide lift for takeoff and landing, along with six small propellers that also tilt up for forward flight.
Archer and United Airlines recently announced plans to fly between Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and the Downtown Manhattan Heliport beginning in 2025, a less than 10-minute trip. United Airlines is one of several equity investors in Archer.
Adam Goldstein, Archer’s founder and CEO, said that New York City Mayor Eric Adams saw value in the aircraft as a way to help reduce traffic congestion, lower emissions and replace noisy helicopters.
“We try to make sure we're partnering with the local communities the best way we can,” Goldstein said in an interview. “A lot of that is around the awareness that these vehicles are really safe, and they're really quiet, and they're going to be affordable for the masses.”
Archer says it will focus on routes of about 10 to 50 miles around city centers, where driving time could be an hour or more. The company plans to focus first on airport-to-downtown travel, followed by connecting routes to other locations. But, Goldstein said, “The possibilities are pretty endless.”
However, before commercial flights can begin, the Federal Aviation Administration must certify the aircraft. That procedure is underway, said Goldstein. The next step, he explained, is to work on certification plans. “Then we'll begin the testing phase next year.”
But Archer is not alone in the rush to make air taxis a reality. Joby Aviation expects to receive its certification and begin commercial passenger service in 2025 — Delta Air Lines is an equity investor in the company. Odys Aviation co-founder and CEO James Dorris said earlier this year that they aim to start commercial flights in 2027, serving longer routes such as Southern California to San Francisco. And in July, American Airlines reserved delivery slots for the first 50 eVTOL aircraft from Vertical Aerospace.
Meanwhile, Regent is developing what it calls a flying boat. The sea glider takes off and lands only on water and flies on a “cushion of air” over the water, according to Billy Thalheimer, co-founder and CEO. Regent expects to begin transporting passengers by 2025.