Archer Aviation has selected Italian aerospace company Mecaer Aviation Group to design and supply the landing gear for Archer’s Midnight eVTOL air taxi, the company announced on Monday.
The fully electric Midnight is a piloted eVTOL air taxi designed to carry four passengers plus one pilot on short trips of around 20 miles (30 kilometers), although the aircraft will have a range of up to 100 miles (160 km), Archer officials have said. The company plans to reveal the first Midnight later this month during an event at its headquarters in San Jose, California.
Archer has not released many details about the design of Midnight or its landing gear. The company’s technology demonstrator, called Maker, sports tricycle-style landing gear, with one wheel in the front and two wheels just behind the aircraft’s center of gravity.
A preliminary concept image of the Midnight aircraft shows several similarities to Maker, such as the “12-tilt-six” propeller configuration. Each aircraft has 12 electric propellers, with six stationary propellers mounted on the aft end of the fixed wing and six additional tilting propellers mounted on the front. Both aircraft also feature a V-shaped tail. The aircraft’s landing gear, however, is not visible in Archer's concept image, so it’s not clear whether the company plans to stick to the type of tricycle landing gear seen on the Maker prototype.
Mecaer Aviation Group, which designs and builds equipment for helicopters and other small aircraft, integrates landing-gear systems for both fixed-wing and rotary aircraft. The company specializes in both nose landing gear and the main landing gear under an aircraft’s fuselage. It also makes retractable landing gear systems and uplocks that keep the retractable landing gear stowed safely inside the fuselage during flight. In addition, the company works with wheels, brakes, and control systems to integrate its landing gear.
“Partnering with industry-leading suppliers to source the components, technologies, and systems needed to manufacture our Midnight aircraft is an important step in our path towards commercialization,” said Archer CEO Adam Goldstein. “Mecaer’s well-established track record of delivering high-quality, high-reliability aircraft systems aligns well with Archer’s commitment to safety when it comes to the design, manufacturing, and operation of our aircraft.”
Archer has not yet revealed many other partnerships for the production of its Midnight eVTOL, which it says will be certified in 2024 and ready to enter service in 2025. In June, Archer announced that it had selected the Austrian aerostructures manufacturer FACC to supply elements of the fuselage and wing, and it picked Honeywell Aerospace to provide flight control actuation and thermal management systems. Archer also recently received a $10 million down payment from United Airlines, which plans to use the Midnight air taxis to transport passengers to and from its main hubs.