FAA releases airworthiness criteria for Archer’s Midnight


The FAA has released the proposed airworthiness criteria for Archer’s eVTOL. 

Archer will have to meet the criteria in order to achieve certification of its powered-lift aircraft Midnight (M001).  The set of proposed criteria is the second set of airworthiness proposals for eVTOLs released by the FAA, following on from Joby’s last month.

The agency told Revolution.Aero: “The FAA has released the proposed airworthiness criteria that Archer Aviation will have to meet for its M001 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to be certified. The agency in November 2022 released the proposed airworthiness criteria that Joby Aviation will have to meet for certification of its Model JAS4-1 eVTOL.”

The FAA can certify new technologies such as eVTOLs using existing regulations. When tailoring existing rules to a new concept, the agency determines the certification requirements for the aircraft’s design, production, airworthiness, and operation. Some certifications could require the FAA to issue special conditions or additional airworthiness criteria, depending on the type of project.

Any VTOL aircraft that has more than one rotor must be certified under special conditions. Since May 2022, Class 14 CFR 21.17(b) has been the main FAA regulation for VTOL. Recently, Revolution.Aero spoke to the FAA and EASA as well as a number of eVTOL OEMs about the pathways to certification and why specific routes make sense for certain aircraft.

The agency is welcoming comments on the proposed criteria for a period of 30 days from the date of publication. See the entry on the Federal Register here.