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Entrepreneur from Ukraine Aims to Deploy Revolutionary Robot Planes in War Efforts

Gene Avakyan, an aerospace engineer and entrepreneur, has developed groundbreaking “robot” planes that he believes have the potential to transform the world. Born in Kyiv, Ukraine, Avakyan experienced the challenges of growing up amidst tense times before leaving the country at a young age. Now, he hopes his innovative aircraft can be utilized in the war, providing assistance to his birthplace.

As the founder of Edison Aerospace and boasting a significant following on Instagram (@geneavakyan), Avakyan initially established the company to create robotic planes for crop-dusting purposes. However, he now envisions his creations aiding in the war effort and has been in discussions with US defense officials and Ukrainian politicians regarding aircraft designs for military applications. These designs include reconnaissance for locating anti-aircraft missile batteries, cargo delivery, and munitions deployment.

Avakyan recalls his departure from Ukraine, saying, “When I left Ukraine, I was just nine years old, and it was the year 1980. We had to navigate through an empty railway yard in the middle of the night, passing by Soviet soldiers armed with AK-47s.” This harrowing experience left a lasting impact on him.

Reflecting on his mission as an entrepreneur, Avakyan expresses his desire to support Ukraine in both the agricultural and military aviation sectors. Recognizing Ukraine as a significant market for agriculture, he believes it requires modernization of its defense capabilities. Avakyan states, “Once you have the ability to lift a ton of weight and transport it 100 miles, you can improve crop growth, plant seeds… or even deploy bombs. It’s a matter of making the right choices at the right time.”

Having studied aerospace engineering at UCLA, Avakyan now resides in Florida. Despite his current location, his passion for Ukraine and the injustices of the ongoing war remains strong. Witnessing the invasion and subsequent events, he expresses disbelief and concern, grateful that the conflict did not result in a swift victory for Russia due to the support from the US and Europe.

Avakyan aspires to be on the right side of history and believes that the war in Ukraine is a clear-cut battle. He is currently collaborating with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to advance his technologies within the realm of civil aviation.

Avakyan’s revolutionary technology involves electric, optionally-manned aircraft that can be piloted from the ground or fly autonomously. With a flight duration of approximately one hour and a battery size comparable to that of a Tesla Model 3, his full-sized planes boast a 40-foot wingspan and a payload capacity of 200 gallons. These aircraft aim to replace the manned crop-dusting planes currently in use.

Beyond the war efforts, Avakyan’s vision extends to rebuilding Ukraine and enhancing global agriculture. By revolutionizing crop spraying, his aircraft can prevent accidents that claim the lives of pilots. He aims to facilitate a smooth transition for existing pilots to operate his planes, ensuring that their skills are utilized while reducing operating costs for crop-dusting companies.

Looking ahead, Avakyan also envisions the advent of electric passenger planes, starting with air taxis. To realize these goals, he seeks funding to develop a series of prototypes.

In addition to Edison Aerospace, Avakyan and his wife, Victoria Unikel, an artist and businesswoman, have founded several other successful businesses. Their collaborative efforts have yielded impressive results, with Avakyan leading the way in aerospace while Unikel takes charge of relationship-based ventures.

Avakyan is grateful for the significant changes in his life since childhood and acknowledges the sacrifices his parents made to provide him with a better future. He concludes, “My parents decided to flee the USSR to save me from a life under communist despots. They made sacrifices, including a decline in their own quality of life, to see me grow up in the US and witness the birth of their grandchildren here. I am immensely grateful for the life I have now.”

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