Gene Avakyan’s creations have the potential to revolutionize aviation and agriculture
In the midst of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Gene Avakyan, an aerospace engineer and entrepreneur, is determined to make a difference. Born in Kyiv, Ukraine, Avakyan left the country as a child, but his connection to his birthplace and the impact of war on his homeland have never faded. Now, with his company Edison Aerospace, Avakyan has developed electric planes that he believes can change the world, and he wants them to be utilized in the war effort.
Avakyan’s journey from his childhood in Ukraine to becoming a leader in aviation technology has been remarkable. At the age of nine, he and his family embarked on a treacherous journey, navigating a railway yard and encountering armed soldiers to escape the country. Eventually settling in the United States, Avakyan’s passion for aviation and space travel led him to pursue a career in aerospace engineering.
Initially, Avakyan founded Edison Aerospace to develop robotic aircraft for crop-dusting, but his aspirations quickly expanded. He envisions his creations being used in military operations, such as locating anti-aircraft missile batteries and delivering cargo and munitions. Avakyan has engaged in discussions with US defense officials and Ukrainian politicians to explore the potential applications of his aircraft designs for the Ukrainian military.
Reflecting on his personal history and the urgency of the conflict in Ukraine, Avakyan 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, capable of lifting a ton of weight and flying for 100 miles, have the potential to revolutionize not only the military sector but also agricultural practices worldwide.
Avakyan’s technology involves electric, optionally-manned aircraft that can be piloted from a ground-based truck trailer or operate autonomously. With a flight duration of approximately one hour and a battery comparable in size to a Tesla Model Three, these full-sized planes possess a 40-foot wingspan and carry 200 gallons of payload for spraying. Avakyan aims to replace the currently manned spray aircraft, which pose significant risks to pilots’ lives due to low-altitude, high-speed maneuvers.
Beyond the war efforts, Avakyan’s innovative aircraft could contribute to the reconstruction of Ukraine and enhance agricultural practices globally. Crop spraying, a dangerous task conducted by pilots flying at low altitudes and high speeds, often leads to fatal accidents. Avakyan believes his planes will help prevent these tragedies and enable existing pilots to transition to flying his safer and more cost-effective aircraft. By reducing operating costs for crop-dusting companies, Avakyan’s planes have the potential to improve their profitability and contribute to the industry’s growth.
Avakyan’s vision extends beyond military and agricultural applications. He anticipates the development of electric passenger planes, starting with air taxis, and seeks funding to build prototypes. In collaboration with his wife, Victoria Unikel, an artist and businesswoman, Avakyan has founded several other successful businesses, including VUGA Media Group, Gossip Stone TV, and 24Fashion TV. Their partnership exemplifies the power of collaboration and complements their respective areas of expertise.
Reflecting on the journey from his tumultuous childhood to his current success, Avakyan expresses gratitude for the opportunities he now enjoys. He acknowledges the sacrifices his parents made to provide him with a life free from the oppression of communist rule. Avakyan’s unwavering commitment to his homeland and his pursuit of technological advancements serves as a testament to his resilience and determination to make a positive impact.
As Gene Avakyan continues to work with the US Federal Government’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), his electric planes hold the potential to transform the aviation and agricultural sectors while assisting Ukraine in its struggle for sovereignty. With innovation and determination, Avakyan strives to not only change the world but also be on the right side of history.