The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Archer is a California-based startup that on May 21, 2020, announced plans to develop a an all-electric, four-seat, fixed wing eVTOL aircraft to fly up to around 60 miles at up to 150 mph. The company has yet to complete the detailed design phase of this program and nor has it published a timeline for entry into service.

As of May 2020, Archer was continuing flight tests with a number of subscale models. At the same time, it had begun to build an 80 percent scale demonstrator aircraft that it says will start flying during 2021 as part of the process for completing the design phase of the program.

Evidently, Archer's backers have a long-term vision for the eVTOL/Urban Air Mobility sector that could span 10 to 20 years. It appears not to be focused on trying to catch up with market entrants claiming to be on track to achieve service entry as early as 2023. The company intends to seek type certification under EASA's Special Conditions rules, which will limit its maximum takeoff weight to 7,000 pounds.

Since it's founding in January 2020, Archer has recruited a team of 40 engineers, including some proven leaders from rival programs such as Joby Aviation and Airbus Vahana.

In early September, Piper Aircraft launched legal action in Delaware accusing Archer Aviation of infringing its trademark on the name Archer, which it has used for a light aircraft model it first introduced 1976. 

Timeline

Projected
Design definition complete

Outlook

Our objective assessment of this program’s probable success.

FutureFlight assesses the probability of success for a new aircraft program by considering the following criteria:

  • Total investment funds available in proportion to the anticipated cost of getting an aircraft certified and in service
  • A company’s in-house capability (in terms of numbers of engineers, technical staff, and customer support teams)
  • The past experience of the company and its senior leadership in developing aircraft
  • The caliber and past experience of key program partners
  • Whether key aircraft systems have been selected and are available for use
  • Whether the preliminary design review has been completed
  • Whether the design for the full-scale prototype has been completed
  • Whether the type certification process has been formally initiated with an appropriate regulator
  • Whether the company has achieved a first flight with a full-scale prototype
  • The number of hours logged in a flight test program
  • Whether type certification has been achieved
  • The number of orders and commitment received for the aircraft
  • Whether the company has adequate facilities to begin series production of the aircraft
Our Methodology

Archer appears to have significant financial backing, mainly from Walmart eCommerce CEO Marc Lore, investing in a personal capacity. Co-founders Adam Goldstein and Brett Adcock have an entrepreneurial record, having sold their recruitment site Vettery to the Adecco Group for $100 million. They have quickly assembled a credible team and appear to have a solid plan to get a prototype to flight test and beyond.

Archer eVTOL Models

Archer eVTOL Specifications

local vtol Lift + Cruise

Performance

  • Passenger Capacity
    4
  • Range
    60 mi
  • Cruise Speed
    150 mph
  • Powerplant Type
    propeller
  • Power Source
    electric
  • Endurance
    n/a
  • Max Altitude
    n/a
  • Takeoff Distance
    n/a
  • Landing Distance
    n/a
  • Empty Weight
    n/a
  • MGTOW
    7,000 lb
  • Payload Weight
    n/a

Dimensions

  • Length
    n/a
  • Width
    n/a
  • Height
    n/a
  • Wingspan
    n/a

Launching its eVTOL progam in May 2020, Archer said that it has yet to define the final architecture and performance for its planned all-electric aircraft. The design definition phase is expected to run through the end of 2021. A preliminary concept drawing for the unnamed aircraft shows a fixed wing design with six propellers, and a V-shaped tail.

The company says the aircraft will carry four passengers for 60 miles at speeds of up to 150 mph.