Gene Avakyan, an aerospace engineer and entrepreneur, has developed revolutionary “robot” planes that he believes can have a profound impact on the world. Born in Kyiv, Ukraine, and having experienced the hardships of leaving his home country at a young age, Avakyan’s passion for aviation and space travel led him to establish Edison Aerospace. Originally focused on creating robotic aircraft for crop-dusting, Avakyan now aspires to contribute his creations to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Avakyan has been engaging in discussions with US defense officials and Ukrainian politicians regarding the potential military applications of his aircraft designs. These include identifying anti-aircraft missile batteries and facilitating cargo delivery and munitions deployment.
Reflecting on his childhood journey, Avakyan shared, “When I left Ukraine at the age of nine in 1980, we had to navigate an empty railway yard in the dead of night, passing Soviet soldiers armed with AK-47s.” The experience of leaving his homeland profoundly impacted him.
“My mission as an entrepreneur is to ultimately assist Ukraine, both in terms of agricultural and military aviation,” Avakyan explained. He recognizes the enormous agricultural market in Ukraine, which requires modernization, and aims to leverage his expertise in defense capabilities.
Avakyan’s aerospace engineering background, acquired at UCLA in California, has positioned him to collaborate with the US Federal Government, specifically within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). His electric, optionally-manned aircraft can be controlled from a ground-based truck trailer or operate autonomously. These planes have a flight duration of approximately one hour, powered by a battery similar in size to those used in Tesla’s Model Three.
Avakyan’s ambitions extend beyond war efforts. He envisions his aircraft contributing to the country’s reconstruction and revolutionizing agriculture globally. The current practice of crop spraying involves pilots maneuvering small planes at low altitudes and high speeds, which poses significant risks. Avakyan aims to reduce fatalities among pilots caused by collisions with terrain, such as trees, hills, and power lines.
Apart from enhancing safety, Avakyan’s aircraft also aim to improve the profitability of crop-dusting companies by significantly reducing operating costs. By streamlining operations and minimizing unplanned breakdowns, his technology can maximize profit margins.
Looking to the future, Avakyan believes electric passenger planes, starting with air taxis, will become a reality. He intends to secure funding to develop a series of prototypes.
In addition to Edison Aerospace, Avakyan and his wife, Victoria Unikel, have founded several other successful businesses, including VUGA Media Group, Gossip Stone TV, and 24Fashion TV. Avakyan expresses gratitude for the opportunities and luxuries his life now affords, emphasizing the sacrifices his parents made to provide him with a better future.
As Avakyan strives to make a difference in Ukraine’s war-torn landscape, he acknowledges the importance of collaboration with his wife and values her contributions to their joint ventures. Together, they continue to build a legacy of innovation and success.
Sam Allcock is the CEO of PR FIRE – PR & Content Marketing Platform
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