Ryse’s Recon, a small eVTOL designed for farmers and similar workers to get surveillance of large areas of land, has officially completed its first piloted test flights near the company’s headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Recon, while small, is an impressive aircraft that offers a high degree of functionality. Its six all-electric motors allow it to fly at heights of 400 ft, up to about 60mph, for a flight time of 25 minutes. Although this may not make it a city commuter, the Ohio-based Ryse is positioning this aircraft as a tool for farmers and other workers who need accessible surveillance over large plots of land. The Recon classifies as an Ultralight aircraft, meaning it can be flown without a full pilot’s license.
Originally Ryse had recreation in mind for its aircraft, but as the business advanced, the company turned to agriculture applications. The pivot came after Founder Mick Kowitz noted that many farms currently use ATVs or small utility vehicles for these purposes, which do not offer aerial views.
Kowitz states, “We started looking at who would be a great early adopter for this technology. I have good friends that are farmers with large farms and they’re like the perfect market for this.” He went on to highlight that farmers have long been the first to take on new technologies including GPS, automation, and autonomy.
The Recon’s battery packs, located directly under each propeller, are easily removable, meaning that depleted battery packs can immediately be swapped out for fresh packs. Kowitz suggests that, “A user could set up remote charging stations that are solar powered with more packs. That way if they’re 20 miles out and don’t feel they have the range to return they could swap in fresh batteries from a remote station.”
Ryse first debuted the Recon in May of 2022, and the company has been visiting farming and agriculture trade shows around the U.S in the months since. The company was originally founded in 2021, in Mason, Ohio. While Ryse is currently focusing on agriculture as a main use case, it also is considering applications in rural transportation, generalized land surveillance, tourism, logistics, search and rescue, and more.
Why it’s important: With its ease-of-use and highly efficient training time, Ryse’s Recon could quickly become a staple for many farming operations. Unlike larger aircraft in development, the Recon fits under existing U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Part 103 regulations, which means it will not need new types of certifications to fly or be sold. With such low barriers to entry including a reasonable price tag, low maintenance and certification needs, and an immediately applicable business use case already identified, the Recon has a solid chance of becoming one of the first widely-sold eVTOL aircraft in the U.S.
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Sources // Ryse Aerotech, Western FarmPress