Electric aircraft manufacturer Pyka announced that it has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate its autonomous, zero-emission Pelican Spray aircraft to treat crops across the US.

Pyka’s automated uncrewed aircraft system (UAS), featuring a weight of 1,125 lbs, is the largest UAS to receive FAA authorisation for commercial operation in the US.

At a total length of 20ft, the highly automated vehicle can carry up to 540 lbs (70 gallons) of liquid and spray up to 240 acres per hour.

Pyka said that combined with an agricultural aircraft operator certificate, the FAA approval will enable Pyka to commence commercial operations in the US. Pyka’s products are already in operation above farms in Costa Rica, Honduras and Brazil.

Pyka CEO Michael Norcia highlighted the company’s excitement over this regulatory milestone: “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 US, Latin America and other markets we operate in, while also laying the operational and regulatory groundwork for eventual scaling into uncrewed cargo operations worldwide.”

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

According to Pyka, the technology features the best-in-class spray precision and chemical drift reduction technologies to provide safe, clean and cost-effective crop treatment at scale.

Lisa Ellman, partner of Hogan Lovells’ UAS Practice, highlighted the advantages the system will bring to the agricultural sector: “This is a significant win for Pyka and the agricultural community they serve.

“Among other safety and environmental benefits, the use of highly-automated UAS like the Pelican to perform potentially hazardous aircraft operations can reduce the number of pilot fatalities that occur each year in the aerial agricultural spraying industry.”