Yamaha certifies new UAV helicopter
Yamaha Motor Corp has been granted permission by the FAA to start flying its new UAV helicopter on agricultural-spraying operations.
The Yamaha FAZER helicopter is a remotely piloted UAV drone and the successor to Yamaha’s RMAX agricultural helicopter which has logged more than two million flight hours. Yamaha will also be operating the aircraft, providing spraying services for vineyards in the Napa Valley, California.
The FAZER is expected to start operations in June.
Brad Anderson, Yamaha’s unmanned-systems division manager said: “This new FAA approval for the FAZER operation follows more than 20 years of experience and proven agricultural performance, and it’s a testament to Yamaha’s commitment to remotely piloted helicopters and precision agriculture.
“The FAZER is our next step in the evolution of this unique line of remotely piloted helicopters, and its improved performance features will help us be more efficient and reach more farms that need this type of technology.”
The Fazer has a 50% payload increase over the RMAX, with a practical load weight of 24kg and a cassette tank capacity of 12 litres. It will also feature a new control transmitter and control system. Yamaha is also planning to lease the aircraft to other certified and licensed operators.
Precision agriculture is one of the biggest markets for civilian UAVs, allowing farmers to spray a large area of land quickly and accurately.
At the Future of Transportation Conference in Cologne last week, VTOL manufacturers such as Ehang and Aurora listed precision agriculture as a potential market for the upcoming wave of unmanned VTOL aircraft. Whilst this would be a tertiary market for VTOLs when compared to the private or air taxi operations, manufacturers think the potential is there.