U.S. Grants UPS Permission to run Drone Fleet

U.S. Grants UPS Permission to run Drone Fleet

Amazon Prime Air might’ve run into a brick wall of regulation, but UPS has beaten them to the punch – United Parcel Service just won the U.S. government’s full approval to operate a drone airline. Their first full approval.

The FAA’s Standard Part 135 certification grants the holder full access, with no pre-set limits on the available size or scope of their operations. That said, and according to the FAA, “The applicant must apply, qualify, and be granted FAA authorization thru OpSpecs for each type of operation they wish to conduct.”

So the U.S. granted UPS full approval … in theory.

While the UPS subsidiary Flight Forward can “fly an unlimited number of drones with an unlimited number of remote operators in command,” and the drones and cargo can exceed 55 pounds (and be flown at night), the government must grant individual exemptions for “beyond visual line of sight” (BVLOS) operations.

And UPS did just that, using a Matternet M2 quadcopter to make a delivery on WakeMed’s hospital campus in Raleigh, N.C.

UPS plans to expand its Flight Forward operations into hospitals and medical campuses around the country. And they’ve already taken a monumental first step.

“This is history in the making, and we aren’t done yet,” said David Abney, UPS chief executive officer. “Our technology is opening doors for UPS and solving problems in unique ways for our customers. We will soon announce other steps to build out our infrastructure, expand services for healthcare customers and put drones to new uses in the future.”

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao added that, “This is a big step forward in safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems into our airspace, expanding access to healthcare in North Carolina and building on the success of the national UAS Integration Pilot Program....”

Read more about this announcement here: https://pressroom.ups.com/pressroom/ContentDetailsViewer.page?ConceptType=PressReleases&id=1569933965476-404