Entrepreneur from War-Torn Ukraine Develops Electric Planes to Aid Military Efforts
Gene Avakyan, an aerospace engineer and entrepreneur, has embarked on a mission to revolutionize the aviation industry with his electric planes. Born in Kyiv, Ukraine, Avakyan left his war-torn homeland as a child and has since dedicated his life to advancing aerospace technologies. The founder of Edison Aerospace, Avakyan initially focused on creating robotic aircraft for agricultural purposes but now aspires to employ his creations in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Avakyan, who has engaged in discussions with US defense officials and Ukrainian politicians, envisions his aircraft playing a vital role in military operations. The proposed designs include planes equipped for locating anti-aircraft missile batteries, delivering cargo, and deploying munitions. By leveraging his technological innovations, Avakyan hopes to provide Ukraine with a competitive edge in the war.
Reflecting on his own harrowing experience leaving Ukraine as a nine-year-old, Avakyan acknowledges the fragility of peace and the need to be prepared for sudden changes. He states, “My mission as an entrepreneur is to really help Ukraine down the road, both with military and agricultural aviation because it’s a huge market for agriculture and will require modernization of its defense capabilities.”
Avakyan’s electric planes, controlled remotely from the ground or capable of autonomous flight, are powered by batteries similar in size to those found in a Tesla Model 3. With a wingspan of 40 feet and a payload capacity of 200 gallons, the aircraft can fly for approximately an hour. Avakyan envisions the technology not only aiding in warfare but also revolutionizing the agricultural sector by replacing traditional crop-dusting methods, which are perilous for pilots.
Crop-dusting pilots often face fatal accidents due to collisions with trees, hills, and power lines. Avakyan’s electric planes aim to reduce these risks, ensuring the safety of pilots while enhancing operational efficiency. By transitioning existing pilots to his aircraft, Avakyan hopes to improve the profitability of crop-dusting companies by reducing operating costs.
Beyond his contributions to aviation, Avakyan envisions a future where electric passenger planes, starting with air taxis, become a reality. He plans to secure funding for the development of prototypes to advance this vision.
Together with his wife, Victoria Unikel, an artist and businesswoman, Avakyan has founded multiple successful enterprises, including VUGA Media Group, Gossip Stone TV, and 24Fashion TV. Avakyan credits his wife’s support and collaboration for their achievements, emphasizing her invaluable role in their shared success.
Avakyan expresses deep gratitude for the life he leads today, acknowledging the sacrifices his parents made to secure a better future for him. He remarks, “I feel grateful for the life I have now,” recognizing the opportunities he has been afforded since leaving Ukraine.
As Avakyan continues to work with the US Federal Government and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), his electric planes hold the potential to transform military operations, agriculture, and the future of passenger travel. With his innovative technology, Avakyan strives to make a lasting impact on Ukraine and the world at large.
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