eVTOL Frequently Asked Questions
eVTOL stands for electric vertical takeoff and landing. eVTOL aircraft take off vertically like a helicopter, fly forward like an airplane, and will be entirely powered by electricity. And because they take off vertically, there is no runway required. Our aircraft can land on a traditional helicopter landing pad or retrofitted landing site (ex. the top of a parking garage), allowing them to seamlessly fit into the fabric of cities without any major disruption.
Safety is paramount in our quest to commercialize UAM as an alternative to other current modes of urban transportation. We are constantly working towards a better understanding of every aspect of the aircraft we are developing and actively considering not only what has happened, but what could happen; the hard-learned lessons from conventional airplanes and helicopters may not be enough to ensure safety moving forward.
We’re working to ensure our eVTOL aircraft is one of the safest options for travel. Like airliners, our eVTOL aircraft is designed to safely complete a flight even if any engine shuts down at any point of the flight - including hovering. Unlike helicopters, which have multiple single points of failure, our eVTOL aircraft can continue to fly safely after any single part of its propulsion system stops working.
FAA certification of eVTOL aircraft is a necessary step in making Urban Air Mobility a reality in the U.S. Throughout the development of our aircraft we’ve worked closely with the FAA to ensure all criteria are met or exceeded. The FAA’s approval of our G-1 Certification Basis in September set forth the specific Airworthiness Standards and Environmental Standards required for us to achieve FAA Type Certification. This is a significant step enabling Archer to move further down the runway towards its goal of making this UAM a reality.
Our eVTOL aircraft are designed to be relatively quiet, clocking in at approximately 45 dBA while flying overhead at 2,000 ft. This is almost 1,000 times quieter than a helicopter flying overhead at the same elevation. Once an Archer eVTOL aircraft reaches cruising altitude, a person on the ground will likely be unable to differentiate the noise overhead from the rumble of the surface streets around them. We’re able to make this happen by equipping our aircraft with 12 small rotors that spin slower than a helicopters’ blades, thus generating significantly less noise.
eVTOL aircraft like ours will primarily operate within cities to solve growing challenges involving traffic congestion, sustainability, aging infrastructure and public safety. Our goal is to help usher in a new era of travel; one that is safer and more sustainable than the options today. Urban environments offer the greatest opportunity to transform the way we move while addressing these challenges by providing effective solutions.
Our eVTOL aircraft are designed to fly up to 60 miles while travelling at up to 150 mph. Through the use of our proprietary data science technology, Prime Radiant(TM), we’ve modeled that the average trip distance in a city is less than 50 miles (just like the countless ridesharing trips that take place every day in cars) so our focus is on designing and building an aircraft that meets those requirements to allow us to best serve anticipated customer demand.
UAM is a term used to describe planned on-demand ridesharing services that will offer a new dimension in transportation. Much like you can book a car with an app, our goal is to allow people to book an eVTOL aircraft in a similar manner. The main goal here though is that rather than sitting in traffic to get across town, with the ability to travel at speeds of up to 150 mph, you’ll be able to fly above traffic and arrive at your destination faster.
We are working with the FAA to ensure that our aircraft are safely integrated into the existing airspace design. Air traffic controllers, under the guidance of the FAA, will manage the routes eVTOL aircraft can take, making sure all aircraft share the sky safely and efficiently - the same way that airline traffic is regulated today.
Since our aircraft can takeoff and land vertically, we need very little space for landing sites, called vertiports. At launch, we anticipate most vertiports will be integrated into existing aviation infrastructure - helipads or the vast network of existing public airports - and non-aviation infrastructure, such as the top of parking structures. In working with cities like Los Angeles and Miami, in addition to organizations like REEF, we’re evaluating optimal locations and routes to accelerate the process of launching our UAM network once we achieve FAA certification of our eVTOL aircraft. We believe this approach will reduce the amount of new infrastructure necessary to support UAM. We are also using Prime Radiant to inform the most convenient, accessible vertiport locations to allow for a seamless customer journey.
Following the launch of our UAM network, which is currently targeted for 2024, you’ll be able to book your trip directly from your smartphone and board our eVTOL aircraft at the nearest Archer vertiport. Full access to our route options and schedules will be just a few clicks away in our app.
At entry into service, we do not expect FAA requirements will have changed from what exists today. Therefore, our aircraft will require a commercial pilots rating to conduct passenger carrying operations. As eVTOL aircraft become more widely used and the “Simplified Vehicle Operations” concept advances we would expect the pilot requirements to also change.
We expect most flights to be between 2,000 and 3,000 ft above ground level.
The simple answer is that our passengers will not have to clear the same type of TSA passenger screening at vertiports like we see at major commercial airports today. If aviation security is your jam and you want to know more, TSA has several aviation security programs that apply to different types of operations and aircraft. Archer plans to operate its UAM service under Part 135, which are the established FAA rules for the type of flights we intend to operate. Part 135 air carriers operating small aircraft (under 12,500 lbs) institute a separate set of security requirements from those that apply to commercial airlines, which operate regularly scheduled flights with large aircraft under Part 121. As we look toward the future, we are working collaboratively with the TSA and others in the industry to establish protocols to maintain the safety and security of our passengers and aircraft. For example, Archer is exploring methods to authenticate passenger identity using other forms of technology that will enable a smooth experience at our vertiports as one boards their Archer UAM flight.