Archer is moving closer to the first flight with its Maker eVTOL technology demonstrator, with the FAA this week issuing the required special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category to allow prototype testing to begin. An initial hover flight is expected to take place before year-end.
In early November, the start-up relocated the two-seat Maker from its Palo Alto, California development lab to an undisclosed site in the state. The FAA’s manufacturing inspection district office has previously issued the certificate of authorization and aircraft limitations, which are also required for the start of flight testing. FAA officials have since inspected the aircraft at the test site.
The Maker is being used to help the company complete the development of the four-passenger vehicle with which it intends to launch commercial services by late 2024. Work on the full-scale eVTOL is still in its preliminary design stage.
The Maker’s flight test team is being led by Matt Deal, who was previously involved in flight testing of Airbus’s Vahana eVTOL technology demonstrator. Engineers have been integrating Maker’s mechanical and software elements for the first hover flight and defining the timeline and process for subsequent flight testing.
“Earning our special airworthiness certificate from the FAA marks a significant moment for our company as we take another leap ahead toward our goal of bringing eVTOL travel to the world,” commented Archer co-founder and co-CEO Brett Adcock. “We’re glad to share a commitment with the FAA to create urgently needed air transportation solutions. We’re grateful to have developed a strong relationship with their Center for Emerging Concepts and Innovation as we continue to work to ensure our eVTOL aircraft adheres to the highest standards of safety and compliance.”
Archer has furthered strengthened its engineering team with the appointment of powertrain specialist Michael Schwekutsch, who was formerly with electric car maker Tesla and also with Apple. He has joined as senior vice president for engineering, focusing on propulsion, as well as high-voltage and battery systems.