FAA Certifies UPS to Conduct First Drone Delivery Service for Medical Supplies

Oct 9, 2019

by ASME.org

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued its first full Part 135 Standard certification to United Parcel Services (UPS) to allow for the company’s recently formed subsidiary, UPS Flight Forward Inc., to be the first to operate a drone airline. A Part 135 air carrier certification is the only FAA certification that allows small drones to transport property for compensation beyond visual line of sight. The certification is unrestricted in size and scope, allowing UPS to fly an unlimited number of drones with an unlimited number of remote operators in command.

In issuing its first-ever issued Part 135 Standard, FAA is carving a path for drone technology to be fully and safely integrated into the American aviation system. “This is a big step forward in safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems into our airspace” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.

Currently, UPS has a small network of drones that deliver medical supplies around a hospital campus in North Carolina. The initial operations conducted unmanned flights for the delivery of blood with the potential to save lives. UPS will initially use its new certification to expand these current services to support a greater number of hospitals across the country.

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