Yamaha Drone Helicopter Approved for Farm Flights by U.S. FAA

A Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. unmanned helicopter may begin agricultural flights in the U.S., making it the first commercial drone weighing more than 55 pounds to receive government approval.

The Yamaha copter can weigh as much as 218 pounds (99 kilograms) and fly as fast as 45 miles (72 kilograms) an hour, according to a waiver posted by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on its website. The copter must also stay at least 500 feet from bystanders.

While the Yamaha RMAX Type II G has been used to apply chemicals to farms in Japan and other countries for 20 years, it won’t be permitted to perform that in the U.S. initially, the FAA said in the May 1 waiver.