The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Archer Co-founder Brett Adcock Quits Co-CEO Role, Leaving Adam Goldstein at the Helm

Adam Goldstein this week took sole command of eVTOL aircraft developer Archer Aviation after Brett Adcock stepped down as co-CEO. Adcock, who co-founded the California-based start-up with Goldstein in 2018, will remain on the company’s board of directors.

“The company took this step, which it believes will help simplify its operating structure, to drive its flight testing and certification program on its path to commercialization,” Archer said in a written statement on the leadership change. “As one of the most well-funded eVTOL companies, with a team of world-class engineering and design talent, Archer is strategically positioned to bring urban air mobility to market.”

In March, Archer told shareholders that it is on track to achieve type certification for its four-passenger eVTOL vehicle in 2024 and said that it will by then have a Part 135 air operator’s certificate and be ready to start commercial air taxi services. It intends to unveil the first full-scale production-conforming example of the as-yet-unnamed aircraft in 2023.

The company said that it expects to achieve the first full transition from hover to cruise flight with its two-seat Maker technology demonstrator during the second half of 2022 and have a second example of the subscale model ready to fly by year-end. The Maker made a brief hover flight on Dec. 16, 2021, but has not flown since then.

“I want to thank the board for giving me the leadership opportunity to capitalize on our core strategic advantages that will make urban air mobility an everyday reality here in the U.S.,” Goldstein commented. “Over the last four years at Archer, the team has worked tirelessly to become a leader in the eVTOL industry. I also want to thank Brett for his partnership and many contributions to Archer along the way.”

In September 2021, Archer completed a business combination with special purpose acquisition company Atlas Crest and then raised an estimated $847 million through a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The proceeds included $600 million from a public-investment-in-private-equity commitment from backers including United Airlines and automotive giant Stellantis, which is also its manufacturing partner.

In February 2021, United Airlines signed an agreement covering a provisional purchase of up to 200 of the Archer eVTOL. In partnership with its regional affiliate Mesa Airlines, United said it intends to use the aircraft to carry passengers to and from its major hub airports.

In the past year, Archer has achieved its stated milestones and continued to build out its leading engineering, design, and certification teams, putting the company in a strategic position for winning,” said United’s former chairman and CEO, Oscar Munoz, who is a member of Archer’s board. “Under Adam’s leadership, this management structure will continue to drive the success of the company.”

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is due to start hearing a case early next year that was brought by rival eVTOL company Wisk Aero. It alleges that Archer illegally obtained trade secrets relating to its design for a similar aircraft. Archer firmly denies these allegations, pointing to a decision in March 2022 by the FBI and Department of Justice not to bring charges against former Wisk employee Jing Xue, who subsequently went to work for Archer.

In a social media post on April 19, Adcock described his departure from Archer’s management team as “bittersweet” and said he will announce his plans in the next few months. “Co-founding and leading Archer has been one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences of my career, and I am very proud of what my team has achieved during the past four years,” he commented.