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Graphic shows Pyka crewless electric cargo aircraft.
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Elektrisch vrachtvliegtuig Pyka

By Duncan Mil

August 7, 2023 - Pyka’s Pelican Cargo drone is a self-flying electric aircraft featuring fully automated flight control software, triple-redundant high energy density batteries, and a carbon composite airframe.

The California-based aviation company is transforming the future of freight delivery with its Pelican Cargo drone.

On August 1, Pyka received approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate its Pelican Spray aircraft for crop protection nationwide.

Securing FAA approval for Pyka’s agricultural drone will also help the company obtain its Pelican Cargo drone certification.

The company signed a deal with Britain’s Skyports Drone Services earlier this year. It plans to use Pelican Cargo for large-volume payloads that its smaller uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) can’t carry.

“Pelican Cargo means we can now fly significant volumes of cargo: a real game changer,” said Skyports director Alex Brown.

Earlier this month, Skyports and Britain’s Royal Mail launched a fully electric drone delivery service between Scotland’s Orkney Islands. The three-month trial uses a Brazilian Speedbird Aero DLV-2 aircraft to deliver letters and packages weighing up to 6kg (13 lbs). The Pelican Cargo will boost this delivery payload to 181kg (400 lbs).

Michael Norcia, CEO of Pyka, says Pelican Cargo’s low operating costs -- expected to be $15 a flight hour (€13.60) due to lower energy and maintenance costs -- will make airborne freight prices competitive over short distances with road transport.

Sources
PUBLISHED: 07/08/2023; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Pyka
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