A New Twelve-Propeller eVTOL Successfully Completed Its First Test Flight

Three years after its inception.
Ameya Paleja
The eVTOL in the air.Archer/YouTube

The aerial mobility market is moving at a rapid pace. There are many startups building electric propulsion systems that can fly you from one urban destination to another without the worry of congestion on the road. California-based Archer was founded just three years ago and recently completed its first hover test flight.

Maker is built with twelve propellers that work to generate the lift for vertical take-off, making it an ideal aircraft for urban spaces. Six of these propellers can then be tilted 90 degrees and will generate the necessary thrust to take this aircraft places.

Archer's progress in three years is quite remarkable as the company had to start right from assembling a team of engineers that designed, built, and tested the subscale prototype. Prior to the hovering flight, the company has also achieved some other major milestones like getting into a commercial agreement with United Airlines, signing up Los Angeles and Miami as cities for its first launch, securing the G-1 certification from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) that paves way for its certification by the regulatory authority and building its first full-scale prototype, Maker. 

Built with lightweight carbon fiber composites, the Maker boasts multiple operational features to reduce failure risks. Its Avionics system comprises four flight control computers and communication links between flight sensors and actuators have been built in just like altitude sensors, the company claims on its website.

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The vertically integrated battery system balances power and energy to deliver maximum range while its thermal management is designed for rapid charging times while also providing an extended life cycle. With a cruise speed of up to 150 mph (241 kph), Maker can take you to your destination in a jiffy. Archer, however, wants the journey to be enjoyable as well and plans to offer ample legroom, ergonomic seats, and a 270-degree view as you soar above the urban landscape. 

Archer also promises a realistic range of 60 miles (96.6 km) for its aircraft that being all-electric is also free of emissions. Equally important is that effectively noiseless operation, as Maker can zoom overhead while generating only 45 dB of noise. This is an attractive feature for VTOLs and Maker looks set to beat Airbus on this feature. 

As the company ends 2021 on a high, it also has its task cut out for 2022. Maker has to transition to the cruise mode and complete a test flight while the company has to pick a construction site to build its manufacturing facility.