Archer Aviation has achieved another crucial milestone in its path to type certification for its Midnight electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxi.
The manufacturer on Thursday announced it received Part 145 Repair Station certification from the FAA, opening the door for select maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services in the short term and expanded MRO operations down the line.
“This is a major vote of confidence from the FAA on Archer’s promise and potential for operating a full-scale urban air mobility [UAM] service in cities across the country,” said Adam Goldstein, founder and CEO of Archer. “As we continue to rapidly advance towards commercial operations, we will be working closely with the FAA and regulators around the world to ensure Archer’s aircraft are safe and ready to transform mobility, providing a sustainable, low noise, and cost-competitive alternative to decongest our biggest cities.”
Archer competitor Joby Aviation also announced Thursday that it received Part 145 certification. The latter believes it is the first to receive the approval, which if true means the rivals are the first two eVTOL manufacturers authorized to conduct MRO operations.
Midnight, Archer’s flagship, zero-emission aircraft, is designed for a pilot to fly up to four passengers (or 1,000 pounds of cargo) on 100 sm (87 nm) trips, cruising at 130 knots. The vision is for the air taxi to perform quick, back-to-back flights with little charge time in between. Archer claims the design will be safe, sustainable, low noise, and cost competitive with ground-based rideshare services, such as Uber or Lyft.
The manufacturer intends to fly the air taxi in 2025 in partnership with United Airlines, which is also an investor and customer. Routes will operate out of United hub airports in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Unlike Joby, which is partnered with Delta Air Lines, Archer will not operate the aircraft itself.
Part 145 certification allows commercial operators and OEMs, such as Archer, to perform limited MRO services on critical components such as airframes. The approval is a vote of confidence from the FAA, signaling Archer’s commitment to safety and operational standards, including the transport of hazardous materials.
The company said its certification “guarantees” that maintenance and repairs are done by “authorized experts,” ensuring operations adhere to the FAA’s strict safety requirements.