Honeywell Aerospace will provide flight control actuation and thermal management systems for Archer’s in-development four-passenger eVTOL aircraft. Announcing the partnership on July 27, the companies said that the actuation technology will be a key enabler of Archer’s “12-tilt-six” configuration in which half of the aircraft’s 12 rotors tilt forward to support cruise flight.
Archer is conducting test flights with a subscale technology demonstrator called the Maker. The California-based company intends to finish the construction of a full-scale prototype in 2023 as it pursues an ambitious goal of receiving FAA type certification in 2024.
This week, Archer also confirmed it has now conducted all the “critical azimuth” flight tests, which it says mark the completion of the second of three key phases of flight testing with the Maker. It has increased operating speeds to up to 15 knots in various directions and attitudes to validate the crosswind capabilities of the aircraft’s configuration and flight control systems.
In the third phase of flight testing, Archer’s engineering team intends to evaluate the Maker’s performance at increasing forward speeds. The company said that at the current rate of testing, it still expects to achieve a full transition between vertical and cruise flight by the end of this year.
“Every flight test we conduct provides us with a treasure trove of data, validating our design and rapidly propelling us towards our vision for eVTOL air travel,” said Archer CEO Adam Goldstein. “This latest milestone is truly exciting and not only reinforces the capabilities of our aircraft design, but of our highly innovative team.”
The as-yet-unnamed Archer eVTOL will feature Honeywell’s MicroVCS thermal management system, which controls temperatures throughout the aircraft, including the passenger cabin. According to Honeywell, its system delivers lower weight and better efficiency and reliability than comparable equipment in its size and power class.
“Honeywell has a wide variety of ready-now solutions that will create a more sustainable future for the aviation sector, and the technology we’re providing Archer is a great example of that,” said Stéphane Fymat, vice president and general manager for urban air mobility and unmanned aerial systems. “We’re committed to making urban air mobility an everyday form of travel, and Archer’s aircraft will help bring that vision to life.”
The Archer vehicle is expected to have a range of around 60 miles and fly at speeds of up to 150 mph. The company intends to operate air taxi services under a Part 135 certificate and it is also selling the aircraft to other operators, including United Airlines.
Archer is already partnered with the automotive group FiatChrysler, which is providing composite manufacturing materials and technology.