November 1, 2022

PykaPelican400x275Pyka, which develops autonomous and electric agricultural aerial aircraft, has announced securing regulatory approval to fly unmanned aerial spray missions at night with a fixed wing aircraft.

Authorized by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) in Costa Rica on July 20, 2022, the Pelican Spray vehicle can now be used by Pyka’s local customers to spray large commercial banana plantations both day and night. The company said this approval takes a monumental step towards the company achieving widespread commercial certification across Central and South America.

The DGAC issued its approval based on Pyka’s record of successful missions in Costa Rica to date, as well as a detailed analysis of the aircraft’s capacity for night operations due to its autonomous flight platform and lighting system, the company said. Officials also observed a live nighttime demonstration of the Pelican Spray operating over a banana plantation in the northeastern region of the country.

Pyka said the practical benefits of spraying chemicals at nights for banana producers are well documented – it allows for better spray distribution and reduced risk of unintended chemical drift due to typically lower winds after sunset. The approval also increases the viable spray window from roughly five hours per day to about 10 hours per day. The technology used in the Pelican Spray aircraft also eliminates the usage of fossil fuels, reducing operating costs for farmers and providing environmental benefits.

Based in California, Pyka has secured almost $48 million in funding to date, and is scaling up manufacturing of the Pelican Spray while also pursuing additional commercial certifications in the U.S. and Latin America. The company said it is also translating successes in the agricultural space to air cargo with the launch of the Pelican Cargo, scheduled for later this fall.

For more details on the company and its technology, visit the Pyka website here.