The electrically-powered Maker will have a 60-mile range and fly at 150 mph when it enters commercial service in 2024, according to Palo Alto, California-based Archer.
The Maker debuted in Hawthorne, California, five miles from Los Angeles International Airport. Archer Aviation also plans to operate in Miami. Airlines and other companies see a future where eVTOLs help ease traffic congestion by moving commuters in small electric aircraft, free of carbon emissions.
United Airlines has invested US$20 million in Archer, which said in February it plans to merge with a special purpose acquisition company overseen by investment banker Ken Moelis later this year.
That deal valued the startup at $3.8 billion. United also plans to acquire as many as 200 Makers from Archer if the aircraft meets its performance and operational needs.
The Maker's development has been overshadowed by litigation. Rival eVTOL developer Wisk Aero LLC sued Archer in US court in April, alleging theft of its technology. Wisk, a venture backed by Boeing and Google billionaire Larry Page's Kitty Hawk, alleges that former employees took files and secret designs from the company before going to work for Archer.