Yamaha has received an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin using its FAZER remotely piloted helicopter for select commercial agricultural spraying operations.
The FAZER is Yamaha’s latest helicopter to receive FAA approval in the U.S., following the RMAX model, which is currently being operated in agricultural applications in California’s Napa Valley. Yamaha provides direct services for fungicide aerial application on wine grapes in Napa Valley and is now planning to introduce the FAZER into operation starting in June.
“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,” said Brad Anderson, Yamaha’s Unmanned Systems Division Manager. “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 Yamaha FAZER features a number of improvements to previous models including 50 percent increased payload capacity, improved control using a newly designed transmitter and new control system, cleaner exhaust emissions, and quieter operation thanks to the fuel-injected four-stroke engine.
“We have found the Yamaha RMAX aerial applications to be a novel, efficient, and effective approach to controlling fungal pathogens in some of our most challenging vineyard blocks,” said Caleb Mosley, Senior Viticulturalist for Michael Wolf Vineyard Services. “The increased payload and output offered by the FAZER coupled with the expertise of Yamaha’s pilots and support staff, shows a commitment to the viticultural plant protection field that we are pleased to be able to utilize in our vineyards.”
While current RMAX and FAZER operation requires a certified and licensed Yamaha employee due to FAA and State regulations, Yamaha is also seeking to type certify its newer FAZER R model, which would allow Yamaha to lease the unit to other, certified and licensed operators.
The FAZER R model was introduced to the U.S. market at 2018 CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics tradeshow, earlier this year. It retains the strong base functionality of the original FAZER model, but with easier operation and further improvements in spraying accuracy. It features a class-leading maximum 32 L agrochemicals payload allowing the spraying of approximately 4 hectares without reloading chemicals or refueling.
Yamaha has been operating remotely piloted helicopters for commercial purposes since 1991 and has amassed well over 2 million total flight hours. In Japan alone, there are over 2,500 Yamaha remotely piloted helicopters utilized in agricultural applications, carrying out pest control in 35 percent of Japan’s rice fields. Furthermore, remotely piloted helicopters are used in applications other than agriculture, such as academic research, disaster prevention, observation, and survey work.