FAA Authorizes Pyka Highly Automated Crop and Cargo Electric Aircraft

Pyka, a manufacturer of large-scale highly-automated electric aircraft for crop protection and cargo transport in Oakland, California, announced 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. With a gross weight of 1,125 lbs, Pyka says its uncrewed aerial system (UAS) is the largest ever to receive FAA authorization for commercial operation. Pyka's Pelican Spray can carry up to 540 lbs (70 gallons) of liquid and spray up to 240 acres per hour. In 2020 alone, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported 54 aircraft accidents involving agricultural operations, including 12 fatal accidents resulting in 13 deaths. The FAA's authorization of Pyka's operations signifies the agency's commitment to enabling larger and more advanced agricultural UA operations that will save lives and advance American interests in the $60 billion global drone market. Watch a video, here, and read details at Militaryaerospace.com (crop sprayer) and Newatlas.com (cargo transport).

Our thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, for his assistance with this report, the background for which appeared in the USN # 23 - 11 - 17 AUGUST 2023 edition of the UNMANNED SYSTEMS NEWS (USN). David distributes the USN, a free, comprehensive newsletter in PDF format every three to four weeks as well as serial news flashes, from which this NREF news update was sourced. To be included in his distribution, simply send a subscribe request to davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com.