Pyka delivers cargo aircraft to US Air Force


Pyka has delivered its Pelican Cargo aircraft to US Air Force as part of its contract with the AFWERX Agility Prime programme. 

Flight operations staff from Pyka and AFWERX gathered on the tarmac at New Braunfels National Airport to witness the arrival of Pyka’s aircraft. The Pelican Cargo is a large-scale autonomous electric cargo aircraft with 400lbs payload capacity and 200 mile range.

This is the first delivery of three Pelican Cargos on lease to AFWERX for the Agility Prime programme. The programme will explore operational use cases for Pyka’s technology to address the most pressing challenges in the air force.

Lt Col John Tekell Agility Prime Branch Chief said: “The AFWERX Agility Prime program looks forward to learning about the deployment and operational capabilities of electric aircraft through this contract.”

The California-based startup, founded in 2017, is the largest autonomous electric cargo aircraft in its class. Pelican Cargo is able to takeoff and land in remote areas, and can be recharged in under 90 minutes.

Michael Norcia, CEO at Pyka. “Our aircraft offers an unparalleled platform for heavy-payload and long-range autonomous electric cargo logistics. We believe the air force is an ideal customer to harness the benefits of this technology, and is helping to advance zero-emission aviation in the United States by partnering with companies like ours.”

Recently, we caught up with Pyka’s chief commercial officer Volker Fabian to find out more about the startup’s other line of business, crop-spraying. Pyka is developing and certifying another version of the Pelican, this one is called Pelican Spray. The platform is the largest ever uncrewed aerial system (UAS) to be authorised by the FAA for commercial operation in the US.