Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. has received Part 137 Agricultural Aircraft Operations Certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – the first for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), says the company.
With the certification, Yamaha can move forward with plans to provide agricultural spray service operations in the U.S. with its RMAX remotely piloted helicopters. The company expects to begin these services at the start of the 2016 growing season.
The RMAX is an unmanned helicopter, designed specifically for agricultural spraying, and weighs just over 200 lbs. with a full payload. Ideally suited for treating specialty and high-value crops, the RMAX is an efficient and economical alternative to spraying with tractor-pulled ground sprayers or backpack sprayers operated by individuals on foot, explains Yamaha.
The RMAX was originally introduced in 1997 as the culmination of several earlier unmanned helicopter models designed and engineered by Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. since 1980. Globally, there are nearly 2,600 RMAX helicopters currently in use. Over 2 million flight hours have been logged to date, and more than 2.4 million acres have been sprayed each year, says Yamaha.
Rob Trester, head of corporate planning at Yamaha, says, “We appreciate the FAA’s Part 137 Certification, and we’re very excited to bring all the proven benefits and advantages of the RMAX to agricultural customers here in the U.S.”