Jeremy Kariuki FLYING
FAA Issues Archer eVTOL Airworthiness Criteria for Public Comment 
December 21, 2022
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  • On Tuesday, the FAA issued new airworthiness criteria for public comment on Archer Aviation’s “Midnight” air taxi. 

    The eVTOL aircraft recently made its first transition between vertical takeoff, powered-lift, and fully wingborne forward flight within 12 months after its first hovering flight, according to Archer. 

    According to the FAA, pilots must be rated to operate powered-lift vehicles in order to fly air taxis. The FAA listed requirements in Parts 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, 33, and 35 as appropriate and applicable to be equivalent to normal safety standards. 

    “The Archer Model M001 powered-lift has characteristics of both a rotorcraft and an airplane. It is designed to function as a helicopter for takeoff and landing and as an airplane cruising at higher speeds than a helicopter during the en-route portion of flight operations,” the FAA document read. “Accordingly, the Archer Model M001 powered-lift proposed airworthiness criteria contain standards from Parts 23, 33, and 35 as well as other proposed airworthiness criteria specific for a powered-lift with electric engines.” 

    Archer is aiming to win FAA certification of its eVTOL in late 2024. The United Airlines and Stellantis NV-backed company also aims to make 250 electric air taxis in 2025. 

    “From day one Archer’s strategy has always been about finding the most efficient path to commercializing eVTOL aircraft,” said Adam Goldstein, Archer’s founder and CEO. “Today’s publication of our airworthiness criteria in the Federal Register is further validation of our strategy and our leadership position in the market.” 

    The NBAA commended the FAA for its approach to advanced air mobility (AAM) certifications. 

    “As an association dedicated to fostering business aviation in the U.S. and around the world, the promotion of new technologies is among NBAA’s top priorities,” said Heidi J. William, NBAA’s senior director of air traffic services and infrastructure. “NBAA applauds the FAA for developing a performance-based pathway to ensure certificated aircraft demonstrate required levels of safety. We look forward to working with the FAA as the agency further refines the certification process for innovative aircraft designs.” 

    Earlier this year, Joby Aviation was the first to achieve this regulatory milestone for its eVTOL aircraft. The company also announced the completion of its second of four system reviews required by the FAA. 

    “Progress on certification is a key area of focus for this nascent sector, and we’re pleased to mark our continued leadership with the successful completion of our second system review. We’re confident that our aircraft design is on track to meet the FAA’s expectations regarding system-level safety, redundancy, and overall aircraft architecture,” said Didier Papadopoulos, head of aircraft OEM at Joby.” 

    Keeping in line with its competitors, eVTOL developer AIR announced the first hover-to-cruise flight of its AIR One vehicle. 

    “It is thrilling to have reached this moment in our journey as we strive to build the foundation to make personal air mobility a reality,” said Rani Plaut, CEO and co-founder of AIR. “AIR is incredibly proud to play a role in the global AAM movement, and we’re looking forward and upward to 2024 when adoption of privately-owned eVTOLs takes flight.”