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New Archer Midnight eVTOL Air Taxi Promises Quick Trips to the Airport

Rejected submission by Anonymous Coward at 2022-11-19 19:07:07
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Traffic snarls in some cities can make the trip to or from the airport longer than your flight, but Archer Aviation aims to change that by adding an additional flight. The company's newly revealed Midnight sky taxi is 100 percent electric and capable of ferrying up to four passengers and a minimal amount of baggage from urban centers to airports, and you could book a flight as soon as 2025.

Archer previously showed off a smaller version of Midnight called Maker. The two-seat Maker shares numerous features with Midnight, including the 12-rotor design and eVTOL (electronic vertical takeoff and landing) design. The company has conducted more than 1,000 test flights since announcing Maker in late 2021, but this vehicle was mainly a technology demonstrator. Now, it plans to begin testing Midnight in advance of a commercial debut.

Midnight is a little larger than Maker, with a wingspan of 47 feet to Maker's 40 feet. It weighs 6,500 pounds and has a total payload capacity of 1,000 pounds. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) weight and carry-on allowances for passengers are low, just 200 pounds for men and 179 pounds for women. So, there's not much wiggle room in flights with all four passenger seats filled.

Like the Maker, Midnight sports six rotors per wing. The three on the trailing edge are stationary, providing lift throughout the flight. The front rotors begin vertical to assist with takeoff, and then rotate to face forward and propel the craft forward. When landing, the front rotors transition back to vertical mode. Archer says Midnight has been designed to conduct back-to-back 20-mile flights with a 10-minute recharge in between. It has a maximum range of 50 miles and a top speed of 150 miles per hour.

The company's full-scale eVTOL will have a cruising altitude of about 2,000 feet, and it claims noise levels on the ground will be just 45 dBA, which is much quieter than current helicopters. Archer also says that the electric motors in Midnight are safer and easier to maintain than turbine or piston engines used in current airplanes and helicopters.

Archer has yet to flight test Midnight, but that could begin as early as next year following a critical design review, reports Future Flight. It will need certification from the FAA before it can begin carrying passengers, but the company believes that could happen as soon as 2024. It hopes to launch its first commercial services in 2025. United Airlines has already made a $10 million down payment on 100 Midnight aircraft, which could help it run its promised Manhattan sky taxi service.

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