First ever government approved drone delivery takes place

Drones from the private company Flirtey carried medicine to a health clinic in rural Virginia.

One of the Flirtey delivery drones

The US Federal Aviation Administration banned drones from distance delivery in February, but it made an exception on Friday.

According to reports, drones from the private company Flirtey carried medicine to a health clinic in rural Virginia. It made three trips to carry ten pounds of medicine. The delivery was part of a drone demonstration with NASA, which flew the medicine to a local airport before it was carried by Flirtey’s drone to the clinic.

According to sources, the timing of the Virginia delivery was ironic. On the same day, five unauthorized drones interfered with rescue helicopters in California. Local authorities blamed the drones for delaying attempts to dump water on a wildfire that jumped a highway.

According to Re/code, Flirtey CEO Matthew Sweeny said he hadn’t seen the California wildfire news. He pointed out that the airport Flirtey flew its drones from stayed open to plane landings during that time. “The reason that’s important is because it shows drones can operate safely around other aircrafts,” Sweeny said.

Sources say the company picked a location at the far end of the airport, had observers watching the runways and communicated regularly with the airport tower. “I think now that we’ve shown this can be done safely and reliably others will follow,” Sweeney said. He hopes to repeat the demonstration next year, but says there’s nothing officially planned yet.


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