Pyka Secures FAA Authorization for Commercial Operation of Largest Ever Highly-Automated Electric Drone in the United States

Pyka, a pioneering manufacturer of large-scale highly-automated electric aircraft for crop protection and cargo transport, has reached a groundbreaking milestone in its quest to revolutionize agriculture. The company is delighted to announce that it has received approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate its zero-emission highly-automated Pelican Spray aircraft for crop protection commercially nationwide. This achievement marks a significant step forward in enabling advanced agricultural unmanned aircraft (UA) operations that promise to bring unparalleled safety, environmental benefits, and economic advantages to American farmers and the wider public.

Pyka‘s highly-automated uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) is the largest ever to receive FAA authorization for commercial operation in the United States, with a gross weight of 1,125 lbs (510KG) The FAA’s decision to grant this approval, in conjunction with an agricultural aircraft operator certificate, underscores the agency’s commitment to fostering larger and more advanced agricultural UA operations. This move holds the potential to save lives and strengthen American leadership in the thriving $60 billion global drone market.

One of the most critical implications of Pyka’s FAA approval is the potential to transform the agricultural spraying industry. In 2020, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported 54 aircraft accidents involving agricultural operations, including 12 fatal accidents resulting in 13 deaths. By leveraging Pyka’s fixed-wing, highly-automated all-electric aerial application technology, American farmers and neighbouring agricultural communities can now benefit from a safer alternative to piloted spray aircraft.

The Pelican Spray aircraft, known as the world’s largest and most productive agricultural spray drone, is already operational on farms in Costa Rica, Honduras, and Brazil. Its impressive capabilities include carrying up to 540 lbs (70 gallons) of liquid and spraying up to 240 acres per hour. This enhanced spray precision, reduced chemical usage costs, and minimized environmental impact will undoubtedly revolutionize crop protection methods and promote sustainable agriculture in the United States.

Michael Norcia, Chief Executive Officer of Pyka, expressed immense excitement about the commercial approval and regulatory milestone, stating, “Pyka’s aircraft provide an essential tool for protecting crops, unlocking cost savings for growers, and reducing our impact on the environment. This commercial approval is the first step in enabling us to generate massive value for growers in the U.S., Latin America, and other markets we operate in, while also laying the operational and regulatory groundwork for eventual scaling into uncrewed cargo operations worldwide.”

The significance of this approval extends beyond Pyka’s business success. Lisa Ellman, Partner and Chair of Hogan Lovells’ Uncrewed Aircraft System Practice, highlighted the safety and environmental benefits of highly-automated UAS like the Pelican. These advanced technologies have the potential to reduce the number of pilot fatalities that occur annually in the aerial agricultural spraying industry. The integration of automated electric aircraft can create a safer working environment for pilots and offer more efficient and eco-friendly solutions for the agricultural sector.

With its proprietary technology encompassing highly-automated flight control software, flight computers, high energy density batteries, advanced electric propulsion systems, and carbon composite airframes, Pyka stands at the forefront of defining the future of aviation. Their commitment to safe, environmentally-friendly, and cost-effective electric aeroplanes has the potential to revolutionize various industries, including agriculture and cargo transport.

In conclusion, Pyka’s FAA approval for nationwide commercial operations of its highly-automated electric aircraft for crop protection is a game-changer for the agriculture sector. By providing farmers with a safer and more efficient alternative to traditional piloted spray aircraft, Pyka is leading the way in promoting sustainable farming practices. This milestone not only benefits the American agricultural community but also marks a significant step towards a greener and more innovative future for aviation on a global scale.

For more information on Pyka and its groundbreaking technologies, visit