Gene Avakyan’s innovative aircraft technology aims to contribute to Ukraine’s defense capabilities and agricultural modernization while revolutionizing the aviation industry.
In a bid to change the world and assist his war-torn birthplace, Gene Avakyan, an aerospace engineer and entrepreneur, has developed revolutionary “robot” planes that he believes can make a significant impact. Born in Kyiv, Ukraine, Avakyan fled the country as a child and has since dedicated his life to aviation and space exploration. With his company, Edison Aerospace, initially focused on developing robotic aircraft for agricultural purposes, Avakyan now aspires to utilize his creations to aid Ukraine in its ongoing conflict.
Avakyan’s personal journey shaped his perspective on the volatility of world events and the need to be prepared for sudden change. Recalling his escape from Ukraine with his parents and grandfather in 1980, he vividly remembers the harrowing experience of navigating through an empty railway yard, evading Soviet soldiers armed with AK-47s. Now, as an entrepreneur, Avakyan’s mission is to support Ukraine’s military and agricultural sectors, recognizing the country’s significant potential for growth and the need for modernization in both industries.
The visionary engineer has been engaged in discussions with US defense officials and Ukrainian politicians regarding aircraft designs suitable for military use. These designs include planes for locating anti-aircraft missile batteries, delivering cargo, and deploying munitions. Avakyan’s technology involves electric, optionally-manned aircraft that can be piloted from the ground or operate autonomously. The aircraft, equipped with batteries comparable in size to those used in Tesla Model Three cars, can fly for approximately an hour and carry a payload of 200 gallons for spraying purposes.
Avakyan envisions his aircraft not only supporting Ukraine’s defense efforts but also revitalizing the country’s agricultural sector. Currently, crop spraying is carried out by pilots flying low and fast in small planes, posing significant risks. Avakyan’s electric planes offer a safer alternative, reducing the likelihood of accidents and fatalities. Moreover, by replacing manned spray aircraft, the technology promises to reduce operating costs for companies engaged in crop dusting, leading to increased profitability.
Beyond Ukraine, Avakyan sees electric aircraft as the future of passenger aviation, with air taxis as the initial step. He aims to secure funding to build a series of prototypes to advance this vision. In addition to Edison Aerospace, Avakyan and his wife, Victoria Unikel, have founded several other successful businesses. They complement each other’s strengths, with Avakyan leading Edison Aerospace while Unikel oversees their other ventures, leveraging her interpersonal skills and charm.
Reflecting on his journey, Avakyan expresses gratitude for the opportunities and successes he has achieved. His parents’ decision to leave the USSR and provide him with a better life in the United States was a sacrifice that he deeply appreciates. Now, he seeks to give back to his birth country by leveraging his expertise and technology to help Ukraine while revolutionizing the aviation and agricultural industries.
Through his innovative aircraft designs and unwavering commitment to making a positive impact, Gene Avakyan embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship and the resilience of the human spirit. His electric planes not only have the potential to transform warfare and agriculture but also serve as a testament to the power of individuals to shape the future for the better.