Yamaha developed its first industrial-use unmanned helicopter, the R-50, in 1987, after a request from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery of Japan. Today there are around 2,400 RMAX helicopters flying in Japan.
YAMAHA Sky Division Australia has introduced a range of Yamaha RMAX unmanned, remote controlled helicopters designed specifically for the agricultural market.
The machines have the versatility to spray weeds and crops, or spread seed in a cost effective and accurate manner.
Weighing 99 kilograms and at a total length of 3.63 metres and a height of 1.08m, each helicopter has a load capacity of 28kg and runs on a 2-stroke, horizontally opposed 2-cylinder engine.
Their sophisticated technologies enable them to maintain consistent and controlled speeds in all directions, as well as excellent flight stability.
“RMAX has the ability to increase productivity, whilst reducing the risks surrounding the use of traditional farming equipment in adverse conditions,” Yamaha Sky Division spokesman Mike Johnson said.
How do you learn to use it?
To operate this helicopter, you need a CASA UAV Controllers Certificate, and your business needs a CASA Operators Certificate. Yamaha’s training school, Skytech Academy, provides operators with classroom lessons, practical skill training, a proficiency test, and ongoing safety training and updates. Completing an RMAX operator course takes three weeks.
Is it only for agriculture?
Even though they first developed the helicopter for the agriculture field, Yamaha unmanned helicopters are designed for a wide range of industrial and research applications. For example, it was used in 2000 for observation over the erupting volcano Mt. Usu in Hokkaido. This was the first case in the world of successful helicopter operation out of the range of sight by means of a GPS autonomous flight system.
RMAX has been successfully used for many other purposes as well. RMAX is used by many universities and research institutions, and it is also used for photography, surveillance, photogrammetry and information gathering.
Where can you get it?
Here is what we can find on their website: Please note that we can only distribute the RMax within Australia. We plan to introduce the RMax to New Zealand in 2013.RMax units can not be exported to other countries.
The base-model airframe, designed to use for agriculture, costs over $80,000. It has one GPS an can only fly within sight, and no more than five metres above the ground.
The Aerial Photography version can fly up to 100 metres above the ground and costs between US$150,000 and US$230,000.
There is also a total package which includes a ground station, antennas, computers & monitors, as well as a four camera system. This model goes up to $1,000,000.00.
What do you guys think of the RMAX?