Archer Aviation recruits former FAA boss as eVTOL start-up pursues certification

Archer Midnight

eVTOL developer Archer Aviation has taken a significant step towards certification of its aircraft, Midnight, with the appointment of a former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) boss.  

On June 13, 2023, Archer announced that the former acting FAA Administrator, Billy Nolen, will join the company as its Chief Safety Officer (CSO). 

The eVTOL start-up hopes that Nolen’s, “expertise in aviation safety and flight operations […] will further strengthen Archer’s ability to successfully commercialize urban air mobility at scale”. 

While at the FAA, Nolen led the agency’s efforts to enable the safe entry of eVTOL aircraft into the national airspace. 

“Billy is an incredible leader and has long been a staunch supporter of the eVTOL aircraft industry, spearheading our country’s and the FAA’s global leadership role in this important area,” said Adam Goldstein, Archer’s founder and CEO. “Together, we will shape the future of transportation and make sustainable, efficient air travel a reality.” 

Nolen is thought to be an advocate of the eVTOL industry and the aircraft’s place in the future of aviation.  

Nolen will play a leadership role to help Archer more effectively collaborate with industry stakeholders and help ensure its safe entry into service as it prepares for planned commercialization in 2025.   

“I’m honored to join Archer Aviation, a true visionary at the forefront of revolutionizing urban air mobility,” said Nolen. “The commercialization of eVTOL aircraft is no longer a question of ‘if,’ but rather ‘when’ and after careful consideration and assessing the competitive landscape, I joined Archer because I believe its approach to designing for certification and only developing the key enabling technologies necessary for eVTOL aircraft is the right recipe for success 

The former FAA boss added: “I’m excited to bring my expertise as a former FAA Administrator to Archer and believe its dedication to safety, innovation, and commercialization aligns perfectly with my own values and aspirations.” 

Nolen has more than 33 years of experience in corporate safety, regulatory affairs, and flight operations, and served as the acting administrator at the FAA from April 2022 to June 2023. 

Nolen started his career as a pilot for American Airlines, then took on safety roles at WestJet Airlines, Qantas Airways, Airlines for America, and American Airlines.   

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