Drones

Amazon Gets Permission to Fiddle with Delivery Drones, Very, Very Carefully

FAA allows them to fly during the day, with pilot and observer always watching.

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"My pen just ran out of ink. Save me, delivery drone!"
Amazon

When the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released its proposed initial rules in February for private commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, or however we want to call them, these rules seemed to make it very, very difficult, if not impossible, for certain innovations to develop, particularly for drone deliveries. The rules permitted the use of drones only during the day and require the operator to be in visual sight of the aircraft, among other guidelines.  

At the time it appeared that these guidelines would pre-empt the possibility of Amazon experimenting with drone deliveries in the United States (a vice president of Amazon actually said as much). But yesterday the FAA gave its blessing to the design of the drone the company wants to use for experimenting and trying to move this process forward:

The Federal Aviation Administration today issued an experimental airworthiness certificate to an Amazon Logistics, Inc. unmanned aircraft (UAS) design that the company will use for research and development and crew training. The FAA typically issues experimental certificates to manufacturers and technology developers to operate a UAS that does not have a type certificate.

Under the provisions of the certificate, all flight operations must be conducted at 400 feet or below during daylight hours in visual meteorological conditions. The UAS must always remain within visual line-of-sight of the pilot and observer. The pilot actually flying the aircraft must have at least a private pilot's certificate and current medical certification.

The certificate also requires Amazon to provide monthly data to the FAA. The company must report the number of flights conducted, pilot duty time per flight, unusual hardware or software malfunctions, any deviations from air traffic controllers' instructions, and any unintended loss of communication links. The FAA includes these reporting requirements in all UAS experimental airworthiness certificates.

A company like Amazon would obviously have no difficulties getting folks with a private pilot's certificate and keeping track of all this data. It's any small business-innovators that don't have the resources to comply with all the FAA's demands who are going to find it difficult to participate in this regulatory environment.

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27 responses to “Amazon Gets Permission to Fiddle with Delivery Drones, Very, Very Carefully

  1. Since Obamanet’s not going to allow Amazon to email your purchase to your 3D printer, this is the next best thing.

    But this is the FAA saying FU to the USPS.

    1. Look, I’ve been waiting for 30 years for my flying car, and I still don’t have it. Now I want justice.

      Fuck Obamanet. We’re going to get our 3D printers and we’re going to print what the fuck we want!

      1. I’m printing Libertopia.

      2. Someone forgot to take their soma today.

        1. When they make a VTOL one, I’ll consider it a reality.

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  2. Well, get to fiddling, you fuckers. I want my 10 minute drone beer delivery and I want it now!

    1. Who says drones have to be slow? Why not high-speed rocket drones, that deliver goods and services ballistically? Fifteen-minute services, bitches.

      1. I hope they have good brakes.

        1. The best air brakes available.

          1. I suspect it’ll be more ground braking, myself.

  3. It’s any small business-innovators that don’t have the resources to comply with all the FAA’s demands who are going to find it difficult to participate in this regulatory environment.

    Isn’t that the point?

    1. Yes, it is. Control freak nannies want to control without bother. That’s why they become control freaks, to stop people from bothering them with new fangled ideas, or any ideas for that matter.

  4. Will Amazon do collections via drone, too? Legally, I mean, using the administration’s disposition matrix to determine when lethal collections are necessary.

    1. What, worried about competition for A.I.M?

      1. Ha! How does one compete with a company that has the high ground?

  5. Fired cop who shot at a minivan full of children gets new job as a sheriff’s deputy

    Elias Montoya was one of two new deputies hired out of a pool of 17 in Taos County, New Mexico
    The 12-year veteran was fired in December 2013 by the New Mexico State Police after an internal investigation into his use of force
    Montoya was later offered his job back at New Mexico State Police but chose to resign

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..eputy.html
    And nothing else happened.

    1. The other 15 hadn’t shown any talent and were unknown quantities.

  6. The pilot actually flying the aircraft must have at least a private pilot’s certificate and current medical certification.

    Oh, give me a break. These are little more than model airplanes. That’s like saying a nurse has to have an MD in order to hand someone some pills.

  7. A company like Amazon would obviously have no difficulties getting folks with a private pilot’s certificate and keeping track of all this data. It’s any small business-innovators that don’t have the resources to comply with all the FAA’s demands who are going to find it difficult to participate in this regulatory environment.

    My feelings exactly. On the one hand, great for Amazon and consumers in range of their drone service.

    On the other hand, this entire industry will become regulatory hell where only those with special permission or connections can operate. The proposed FAA scheme for licensing drone operators is not a good sign.

    1. Big government loves big entities to regulate. It hates small entities to regulate, especially individuals.

    2. No, I think it’ll be more like other activities for which as experience accumulates, permission will become easier to get. Like how they inaugurated Citizen’s Band after years of experience w radio, then allowed it better tech specs, then abolished licensing entirely. Or how it was w motor vehicle oper’n on streets, which at one time required a flag man in front in some locales. They’re just being cautious at 1st, as usual.

  8. The UAS must always remain within visual line-of-sight of the pilot and observer.

    So, the pilot and observer are aloft in helicopters?

  9. If those stupid FAA requirements were the specs for a private sector pilot program (if you know what I mean, and I think you do), I could see it. You over-spec pilots in the private sector to get a full evaluation, and then you re-engineer for production.

    But since its the FAA, you know those are just the minimum burdens they will impose. So fuck them. With a quadcopter. Sideways.

  10. AL RIGHT! Now everyone go to Amazon and buy really, really heavy stuff. Let’s see how many things we can get dropped on rooftops and roadways between home and homebase.

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