Last week, in advance of the company’s first quarter earnings call, Archer Aviationunveiled the first prototype of Midnight, the five-seat electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft it aims to certify with the Federal Aviation Administration by 2025. Now located at Archer’s flight test facility in Salinas, California, the aircraft will undergo a series of ground tests prior to its maiden flight this summer.
Like Archer’s two-seat eVTOL demonstrator, Maker, this initial Midnight aircraft is unpiloted. The company said this will allow it to accelerate and reduce risk on its FAA certification program, which will use six piloted Midnight prototypes that are expected to start flying next year. Left unsaid was another reason why Archer is motivated to get an unpiloted version of Midnight in the air as quickly as possible: its flight test progress will be key to unlocking $55 million in equity capital from automaker Stellantis.
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