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Maker Testing Hits the Bullseye for Archer

eVTOL Flight Testing Proceeding to Plan

Archer Aviation, the San Jose, CA-based designer of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, reports flight-tests of its Maker demonstrator aircraft are proceeding apace.

Most recently, the test program saw the first use of the company’s Tilt Propeller System (TPS), which actively controls Maker in hover. The system, which facilitates transition from hover to wing-borne flight, comprises a series of independent actuators, sensors, and software that articulates the vehicle’s forward six propellers relative its single, high-mounted wing.

The installation and successful testing of the TPS system marks Maker’s readiness for more advanced, transition-envelope expansion flights. Subject flights will afford the Archer team opportunity to:

  • Validate flight mechanics such as trim motor RPMs and power draw as a function of airspeed.
  • Assess control system stability.
  • Improve simulation models of vehicle aerodynamics by evaluating real-world battery performance and motor efficiency.
  • Characterize vibration and thermal environments for future, airborne equipment qualification.
  • Gather acoustic data to validate predicted, inflight decibel levels.

The demonstrator aircraft on which Maker is based completed its first flight and received its airworthiness certificate from the FAA in December 2021. Archer intends to unveil a piloted, four-passenger iteration of the aircraft in 2023. The new, more capable Maker’s 75kWh lithium-ion battery will power the vehicle to a maximum altitude of two-thousand-feet and a cruise-speed of 150-miles-per-hour.

Notwithstanding the nascency of its design, Archer has entered into a deal with United Airlines that will see the carrier acquire up to two-hundred Maker-style, electric aircraft. United, in cooperation Mesa Airlines—which operates regionally under the United banner—plans to add electric-aircraft taxis to its operations by fiscal 2026.

United estimates that Archer's eVTOL aircraft could reduce CO2 emissions by 47-percent per passenger on a trip between Hollywood and Los Angeles International Airport.



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