Archer Aviation has a lot of work to do before it gets anywhere near its target of making 2,000 electric air taxis annually. But at least it knows what it has to do to hit ambitious goals many experts are skeptical about.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Monday issued the airworthiness criteria that Archer Aviation will need to meet for its M001 air taxi to be certified for use.
The FAA released the criteria for public comment of Archer’s electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The release comes after the FAA made a similar announcement in November for Joby Aviation’s Model JAS4-1 eVTOL. Archer said earlier this month it is working to win FAA certification of its eVTOL in late 2024.
Earlier this month, Archer said its eVTOL completed its first full transition flight on Nov. 29 – less than a year after its first hover flight after several months of testing.
Archer, which is backed by United Airlines and Stellantis NV, said in October it aims to make about 250 battery-electric air taxis in 2025 and scale up production in the following years.
The eVTOL aircraft have been touted as air taxis that could be the future of urban air mobility. The low-altitude urban air mobility aircraft has drawn a huge amount of interest.
The FAA said in May it was modifying its regulatory approach because regulations designed for traditional airplanes and helicopters “did not anticipate the need to train pilots to operate powered-lift, which take off in helicopter mode, transition into airplane mode for flying, and then transition back to helicopter mode for landing.”
The FAA said the Archer eVTOL “will be much quieter than conventional helicopter turboshaft engines and rotors. As a result, birds will have fewer cues to the existence of the vehicle due to quiet approach environments” and as a result “the FAA proposes a more comprehensive bird strike requirement.”
Delta Air Lines in October invested $60 million in Joby, in a partnership that expects to initially offer passengers air taxi transport to and from airports in New York and Los Angeles.
Joby said in November it now expects to start commercial passenger air taxi service in 2025 after receiving FAA approvals. Joby said previously it plans to launch commercial service in 2024.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Aurora Ellis)
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Photo credit: Archer Aviation has received certification for air taxi flying. Archer Aviation