Archer Aviation has received a $10-million pre-delivery payment from United Airlines for 100 of the company’s initial production eVTOL aircraft. United is making the deposit on 100 of Archer’s production aircraft which it agreed to purchase in 2021.
Archer recently completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for its production aircraft—now named “Midnight”—and is now advancing to the next stage of its development and commercialization efforts. Midnight is a piloted, four-passenger aircraft that is the aircraft planned to be used for commercial operations.
Midnight is expected to be able to carry more than 1,000 pounds of payload and to be able to fly up to 100 miles. More importantly, it is expected to be able to complete the target mission of successive 20-mile flights with a charging time in between of approximately 10 minutes.
The PDR is a review of the aircraft design to ensure the program is on track and the design is mature enough to proceed to the next development phase and kick-off of production of long lead time hardware. The PDR lays out all aspects of the aircraft’s specifications and manufacturing requirements, necessary pre-conditions for determinations that the design is feasible for regulatory compliance and viable to bring to market.
United’s decision to place a deposit for 100 of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft signals its desire to be one of the first airline operators in the US to bring eVTOL aircraft to market.
The pre-delivery cash deposit continues a trend of strong support by the airline throughout development of its aircraft. Recently, United formed a Joint eVTOL Advisory Committee with Archer, allowing the parties to work more closely on eVTOL maintenance and operational matters. Committee members include Archer’s operations and maintenance leadership, as well as leadership from United’s maintenance, materials, and engineering groups.