The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Archer Picks Garmin Flight Deck for Midnight eVTOL Aircraft

Garmin will supply its G3000 integrated flight deck system for Archer Aviation’s four-passenger Midnight eVTOL aircraft. Archer announced the selection of its key avionics supplier on the eve of its planned unveiling of the Midnight design in California on November 16.

The G3000 avionics suite has already been chosen by Archer’s rival Joby for its four-passenger vehicle. It is a member of Garmin’s modular family of flight deck systems, which are widely used on existing business aircraft, including Embraer’s Phenom 300 light jets, the HondaJet, the Piper M600, and several of Cessna’s Citation models.

Garmin’s main competitor in the advanced air mobility sector is Honeywell, which has been forging partnerships with eVTOL aircraft developers. Archer previously selected Honeywell to provide flight control actuators and a thermal management system for Midnight.

In October, Supernal chose Honeywell’s Anthem integrated flight deck, along with BAE Systems to provide flight controls. In 2021, the same system was selected by Lilium Jet and Vertical Aerospace for their new eVTOL vehicles. Other companies trying to break into the market include Universal Avionics and Avidyne.

In a statement issued late on November 15, Archer said it picked the G3000 because the system has been certified on multiple aircraft and is familiar to large numbers of professional pilots. “The large format displays and intuitive controls will provide pilots with the situational awareness needed to operate Midnight,” the company said.

According to Archer, with the selection of Garmin, it now has 64 percent of the suppliers in place for Midnight’s bill-of-materials. Earlier this month, the manufacturer selected Italy’s Macaer Aviation Group to make the landing gear to be used on the Midnight, for which it completed the preliminary design review in August 2022.

On November 16, Archer announced that Taiwan-based Molicel will provide lithium-ion battery cells for its eVTOL vehicle. It expects Midnight to be able to conduct multiple short flights of around 20 miles with short, 10-minute charge cycles while on the ground.

“By aligning Archer’s product sourcing needs with the experience and capabilities of well-established leaders in the aviation industry, we can help reduce our certification risk, as well as development timeline and costs,” said Archer CEO Adam Goldstein. “We’re excited to be adding Garmin to our growing base of world-class suppliers as we pave the way towards commercialization.”

On November 15, Archer announced that it will manufacture the Midnight aircraft at a new facility in Covington, Georgia. The 96-acre site, which is close to Atlanta, is next to Covington Municipal Airport.

Initially, Archer will build a 350,000-sq-ft facility capable of producing up to 650 Midnight aircraft per year, and construction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2024. Eventually, Archer hopes to add another 550,000 sq ft to the facility, after which the company says it will be capable of producing about 2,300 Midnight aircraft per year. Archer says the factory will create about 1,000 jobs in Georgia over the long term. 

Archer, which has partnered with United Airlines, plans to initially use these air taxis to transport passengers between city centers and airports with United hubs. Just last week the company announced what will be its first air taxi route between Newark Liberty International Airport and Downtown Manhattan Heliport in New York City. 

This story was updated to include news about the appointment of Molicel as the battery supplier for the Midnight eVTOL aircraft.