The Maker eVTOL was unveiled in June 2021 and completed a successful hover test six months later, in addition to receiving airworthiness certification from the FAA.
Archer Aviation just announced completion of the first successful hover flight of its Maker aircraft which took place last week on Dec. 16. Archer is one of only a few companies making electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to receive the Special Airworthiness Certificate from the FAA. The Maker demonstrator aircraft was revealed in June 2021, just six months before the hover flight took place, and is expected to have a 60-mile range at 150 miles per hour.
During the hover flight, the demonstrator aircraft climbed into the air and hovered in place, then returned safely to land on the ground. This achievement, according to the company’s press release, “marks the completion of the company’s first full and complete systems test and validation of every hardware and software component working as intended to move the aircraft into the air.” The success of the Maker’s first hover flight is also significant because last week was also the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, NC, which took place in 1903.
In November, the two co-CEOs of Archer, Brett Adcock and Adam Goldstein, stated that the first generation of their production aircraft will make its debut in 2023. However, in this week’s announcement, the company revealed plans to unveil the production-ready version of its aircraft in late 2022. The production aircraft will have four seats, while the Maker demonstrator is a two-seater aircraft. Goldstein commented that the team is working towards “launching an aerial ridesharing service in late 2024. Everything we’ve accomplished this year, every milestone hit and partnership struck, was all with one goal in mind: developing both an aircraft and a UAM ecosystem that could scale and change the face of intra-city travel.”
He also indicated that the majority of demand for their electric air taxi is likely to be for urban air mobility missions.
Adcock also commented on the company’s journey over the past six months that culminated in the Maker’s first flight, and he expressed his pride in their team that was able to accomplish the task. “It's been humbling to build a leading eVTOL company and educate the public on clean transportation alternatives,” he said. “Today is a milestone for both Archer and the future of travel."
Archer’s flight test team has dedicated themselves to ensuring that the Maker meets the FAA requirements for airworthiness certification, in addition to preparing for a successful hover flight, for the past two months. The ground testing phase for the demonstrator aircraft involved verifying the control and propulsion systems and stress testing the motors to ensure that all systems were operational and ready for the flight testing phase.
Next on Archer’s radar is to broaden their flight test campaign to include hover envelope expansion and transition envelope expansion.