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We are harnessing automation and electrification to make aviation safer, cleaner, and more cost-effective than ever before.

Executive Team

MICHAEL NORCIA

Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer

CHUMA OGUNWOLE

Co-Founder, Chief Operating Officer

VOLKER FABIAN

Chief Commercial Officer

Technical Leadership

KYLE MOORE

Co-Founder, Software Lead

NATHAN WHITE

Co-Founder, Operations Lead

XIAO CAO

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 unveiled Pelican Cargo, the world's largest zero-emission autonomous cargo UAS.
April 2023
Pyka Awarded ‘California Competes’ Tax Credit
Pyka was awarded a $7m California Tax Credit with the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (“GO-Biz”) to expand manufacturing of zero-emission autonomous aircraft.
July 2023
FAA Authorization for Commercial Operation in the US
Pyka secured FAA 44807 Authorization for Commercial Operation of Pelican Spray in the United States.
August 2023
Pyka Surpasses 50 Employees
The team celebrated with a company-wide retreat to Carnelian Bay in Lake Tahoe, CA.
September 2023
Pyka and Dole Successfully Complete Trial Phase of Pelican Spray
Dole plans to expand Pelican Spray operations in LATAM to advance Smart Farming and Sustainability Goals.
October 2023
Pelican Cargo Participates in UK Ministry of Defence Heavy Lift Challenge
Skyports Drone Services demonstrated Pelican Cargo’s heavy payload capacity and extended range capabilities to an audience of senior members of the UK Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy at the UASHLC test site in Predannack, Cornwall.
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