About Us


We believe that electrification and automation will make aviation safer, more affordable, and more accessible than ever before.

Executive Team

Michael Norcia

Co-Founder, CEO

Chuma Ogunwole

Co-Founder, COO

Volker Fabian

Chief Commercial Officer

Technical Leadership


Co-Founder, Software Lead


Co-Founder, Operations Lead


Electrical Engineering Lead

Hannah Droesbeke

Flight Test Lead

Elizabeth Goodine

Manufacturing Lead

Garrett Rini

Mechanical Design Lead

Jay Spansel

Certification Lead

Our Journey

February 2017
The Adventure Begins
In classic startup-fashion, Pyka was started in Michael's parents' garage. The garage was not large enough to fit Pyka's proof of concept vehicle, "Big Bird," so the company moved to the backyard, where they maintained a decidedly laid back 'shoes optional' corporate culture.
June 2017
Y Combinator
Pyka was accepted into Y Combinator's summer 2017 batch. Over the course of three months, the team of five designed, built, and flew Big Bird, a bespoke 400lb UAV.
August 2017
Big Bird First Flight
Big Bird completed its first fully autonomous mission (takeoff through landing) running the first Pyka Flight Engine two weeks before Y Combinator's Demo Day. It flew beautifully!
March 2018
First Generation
After raising a $3m round out of Y Combinator, the team set about designing and building its first product, the "Egret," which was a 200lb payload 100% autonomous electric crop duster.
May 2019
First Generation
Pyka certified the Egret for commercial operation in collaboration with the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority in mid-2019, making the first-ever human-scale autonomous electric aircraft certified for commercial work.
October 2019
Seed Stage
Pyka raised an $8m Seed+ round in late 2019.
January 2020
Second Generation
Four months after raising their Seed+, Pyka flew its second generation electric autonomous ag airplane, the "Pelican". The new aircraft incorporated dozens of design and feature improvements and carried over 3x the liquid payload of its predecessor.
October 2020
Pelican Enters Production
Pyka started serial production of the Pelican in late 2020, after completing structural load testing and flight testing programs. Most of the aircraft is manufactured at our facility in Oakland, California.
April 2021
First Customer Delivery to Latam
Pelican SN3 was delivered to one of two major launch customers in Costa Rica where the aircraft would soon go to work spraying Bananas.
May 2021
US Certification Flights
The Pelican successfully completed the final stage of flight demonstration for commercial approval in the US.
July 2021
First Flight Over Bananas
Pelican took to the skies for the first autonomous fixed wing aerial application on a banana crop in human history!
September 2021
Embraer Partnership
Pyka and EmbraerX, the R&D arm of Embraer, joined up to accelerate the future of autonomous aerial application operations in Brazil.
April 2022
Series A Funding Secured
Pyka raised $37m in Series A funding.
October 2022
Night Operation is a Go
Pyka secured the world's first approval for autonomous night spray operations in Costa Rica.
January 2023
Pelican Cargo Launch
Pyka unveils Pelican Cargo, the world's largest zero-emission autonomous cargo UAS.

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