Home-UAVPyka Bets The Path To The Future Of Passenger Planes Runs Through...

Pyka Bets The Path To The Future Of Passenger Planes Runs Through Banana Plantations In Latin America

Oakland-based Pyka shares a goal common to many high-tech California aviation startups: to build an autonomous electric passenger aircraft. However, its first steps to get there have taken the company far away from the pack, first to New Zealand and now to banana plantations in Costa Rica and Ecuador, where it’s preparing to field a robotic crop-spraying airplane called Pelican that CEO Michael Norcia says will prove out technology he believes will lead the way to an era of green, low-cost passenger planes.

The fat-bellied, 500-pound plane can carry more than its weight in liquid pesticides or fertilizer, and is engineered to take off and land in a ridiculously short space: 150 feet, half the length of a football field. Someday that short takeoff and landing capability may enable passenger service to be shoehorned into cities and suburbs in a different way than many other electric aviation startups are envisioning. For now, the 28-year-old Norcia is betting that agriculture is a more practical – and lucrative — avenue to pursue. Pyka says the Pelican will have 50% of the operating costs of manned crop-spraying planes and will remove pilots from harm’s way in a business where skimming fields at 140 miles per hour too often leads to accidents and death. And banana plantations, which are the most frequent users of aerial spraying in the world, may be the perfect environment for it to take wing.

Read more on this story at Forbes.com

RELATED ARTICLES

CURRENT ISSUE

CLASSIFIEDS

  • 802 Pilot Needed in Central South Dakota802 Pilot Needed in Central South Dakota
    Pilot needed for a new 802 in Corsica, SD for a full season seat. Herbicide experience is a must. The plane is equipped with Ag PilotX and AFS booms with shutoffs. We will be at NAAA as well if you’d [...] Read more »
  • 1979 Cessna T188C Ag Husky1979 Cessna T188C Ag Husky
    1979 Cessna T188C Ag Husky, 10K TTSN, 420 SMOH, Bantam GPS/flow, CP's, super booms, VG's, AC. For pricing and more information call 309-759-4646 or email hcurless@farmairinc.com[...] Read more »
  • 1987 AT-501, N7314Q1987 AT-501, N7314Q
    1987 AT-501, N7314Q, Walter conversion, 500 gals, side fuel, MVP 50 engine monitor, 7416 TTAF, 521 TTE, Lots of extras. Minnesota plane. Call Jon at 320-760-5075[...] Read more »

Most Popular

X