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Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., received Part 137 Agricultural Aircraft Operations Certification from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today, the first for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). With the certification achieved, Yamaha can move forward with plans to provide agricultural spray service operations in the U.S. using its RMAX remotely piloted helicopters. The announcement was made today by Steve Markofski of the Unmanned Systems Division at Yamaha.
Part 137 Certification from the FAA is a key step in enabling Yamaha to begin agricultural spraying in the U.S., subject to approval by the states and local authorities in areas where the RMAX will be used.
The RMAX is an unmanned, remotely piloted helicopter designed specifically for agricultural spraying, and it weighs just over 200 pounds 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.
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, and over two million flight-hours have been logged to date, with more than 2.4 million acres being sprayed each year.
Rob Trester, head of Corporate Planning at Yamaha, commented, “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.”
Yamaha expects to begin agricultural spray service operations at the start of the 2016 growing season.