Pyka has secured the first ever 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 in July, 2022, Pyka’s Pelican Spray fully autonomous and 100% electric agricultural aerial application aircraft now has approval to be used by Pyka’s local customers to spray large commercial banana plantations, both day and night.
This development comes as a major technological breakthrough in the agricultural industry and a 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 given the specifications of its autonomous flight platform and lighting system.
As a final step in the approval process, officials from Costa Rica’s flight regulator observed a live nighttime demonstration of the Pelican Spray operating over a banana plantation in the northeastern region of the country.
According to Pyka, the practical benefits of spraying chemicals at night include better spray distribution and reduced risk of unintended chemical drift due to typically lower winds after sunset, while also increasing the viable spray window from roughly five hours per day to roughly 10 hours per day.
Pyka’s new technology will eliminate the usage of fossil fuels, thus reducing operating costs for farmers and providing substantial environmental benefits, while enabling round the clock spray capabilities through automation.
Having secured nearly US$ 48M in funding to date, Pyka is scaling up manufacturing of its Pelican Spray while pursuing additional commercial certifications in the US and Latin America.