It’s a splendid week for Amazon, as its dream of delivery drones is finally within reach after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted them with an experimental airworthiness certificate.
With the certificate, Amazon is finally allowed to test its drones with the hope of someday delivering packages using these flying machines.
The certificate comes with strings attached, though.
Under the agreement, the aircraft is only allowed to fly not more than 400 feet from the ground. The test must also be performed during the day, and the weather must be in good condition.
The unmanned aircraft, or what the FAA refers to as the UAS, must always “remain within visual line-of-sight of the pilot and observer.” And by “pilot,” the provision pertains to an individual with an actual private pilot’s certificate along with medical credentials.
The limitations don’t stop there, as Amazon is strictly expected to submit monthly progress to the FAA. Data must include the amount of flights the UAS will make, what time the pilot is in charge during the entire testing period, and any possible malfunction on the hardware or software.
Amazon also has to submit “any deviations from air traffic controllers’ instructions, and any unintended loss of communication links.”
It should be noted that the FAA provide these requirements to any individual or institution granted with UAS experimental airworthiness certificates.
Amazon had announced its plan to employ a delivery system called Prime Air, described as “a future delivery system from Amazon designed to safely get packages into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less using small unmanned aerial vehicles.”
The experimental airworthiness certificate was handed over almost nine months after Amazon wrote a letter to the FAA.
“Further, granting this request will do nothing more than allow Amazon to do what thousands of hobbyists and manufacturers of model aircraft do every day, and we will abide by much stronger safety measures than currently required for these groups by FAA policies and regulations,” Amazon stated in the letter.
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