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September 13, 2022 | Chief Piloting the eVTOL Future

We are working to unlock the skies, by developing a piloted four passenger eVTOL aircraft that's safe, sustainable, and accessible to the masses. And one of the key components to ensuring that safety is the pilot. For a pilot to perform at their best and provide the optimum level of safety, the aircraft controls must be intuitive and consistent. At Archer we have teams of engineers developing our approach to those controls and ensuring the pilot’s environment is the best it can be. Helping to validate that environment is Jeff Greenwood, Chief Test Pilot at Archer.

Jeff’s experience as a test pilot began in 1999 at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. For the next few years he was stationed at U.S. Naval Station Patuxent River as a test pilot, where he flew legacy H-1 aircraft test programs and the Development and Envelope Expansion program for the UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters. In 2006 he joined Bell Helicopter as an experimental test pilot. While at Bell, Jeff participated in several commercial test programs to include the 609, 525 and 412EPI. His work there ultimately led to him becoming the Director and Chief Pilot at Bell. In 2021 he sought to help develop an entirely new type of aircraft and joined the team at Archer. 

“Personally I became interested in the UAM concept when I attended the Uber Elevate summit in 2018,” Jeff recalls. “Professionally I was impressed with the team Archer was building, the aircraft concept, and Archer's conservative approach to certification. Putting those things together made the decision to join Archer easy.”

Though our mission was clear, and clearly a draw, developing a new way to fly would involve numerous considerations around how to fly. In our planned production eVTOL aircraft, Midnight, the piloting experience, stick and rudder aspects, will be different from both traditional fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. Through the use of fly-by-wire and advanced controls we will allow the pilot to directly control the flight path of the aircraft, as opposed to controlling pitch, roll and yaw as is done in traditional helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Not only will controlling an eVTOL aircraft differ from traditional aircraft, testing those controls will also be a new experience. 

“For a traditional aircraft you can typically takeoff with enough fuel for multiple hours of flight time. In an eVTOL aircraft your flight times will be shorter, thus the test team will have to closely manage the execution of the flight test card to ensure maximum efficiency during the test.” Jeff describes. “Our plan to meet this challenge is to build the test plans and test cards early, fly them in the simulator, then refine the cards and procedures based on our learning.”

As we continue our journey towards commercialization, the development of Midnight pushes forward. It’s driven by some of the best talent in aviation, disruptors who’ve been inspired to revolutionize the way we move. Disruptors like Jeff Greenwood, and the numerous others working alongside him to ensure safety in the future of piloting. To find your place on our journey, visit our Careers page for a list of all current opportunities.