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Sat, Dec 03, 2022

Archer’s Maker eVTOL Achieves Full Transition

Action in the Pre-Midnight Hour

Archer Aviation, the California-based designer of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, has announced that its Maker eVTOL made its first full-transition to wing-borne flight on 29 November 2022. The accomplishment marks a milestone in Maker’s flight-testing program and underscores the sincerity of Archer’s ambition to be the first company to have its eVTOL platform type-certified by the FAA.

Within the context of powered flight, transition refers to the shifting of an aircraft’s lift-generation from one architecture and set of governing physical principles to another—most often from vertical flight, by dint of downward-vectored rotor thrust, to forward flight, by dint of aerodynamic lift as plumbed by Messrs. Coanda and Bernoulli.

Maker’s complex but now demonstrably viable design comprises no fewer than 12 rotors attached to six booms, the entirety of which are conjoined to the underside of a conventional, high-aspect-ratio, fixed wing. During take-off and landing, all 12  of Maker’s rotors are oriented parallel to the aircraft’s longitudinal axis, thereby providing thrust for ascent and controlled descent. Once aloft, Maker’s forward six rotors slowly articulate until their planes lie perpendicular to the aircraft’s longitudinal axis, thereby  generating forward thrust, induced lift, and eventually accelerating the machine to forward speeds commensurate with wing-borne flight.

The 29 November test sortie saw Maker’s tilt rotors lock into their cruise positions for the first time. The lift/propulsion scheme motivated the aircraft to a steady, if not outright scorching, calibrated airspeed of 91-knots.

The Maker flight test program has yielded valuable data by which Archer plans to advance the development of Midnight, an aircraft the company unveiled at its 16 November 2022 open house and is working to see FAA type-certified in the latter part of 2024.

Archer Aviation founder and CEO Adam Goldstein remarked: “From day one, Archer’s strategy has always been about finding the most efficient path to commercializing eVTOL aircraft. The data and experience we’ve gathered from Maker’s rigorous flight testing program has been invaluable to the development and certification path of Midnight, and lends further confidence to our belief that Archer will be the first company to certify an eVTOL aircraft in the US with the FAA.”

Archer chief engineer Dr. Geoff Bower added: “This significant achievement is a testament to the countless hours of design, simulation, and wind-tunnel testing that our team has conducted behind-the-scenes. Looking forward to the commercialization of Midnight, we’ll continue to draw upon the incredible findings and lessons learned from Maker’s flight testing program.”

FMI: www.archer.com

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