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News & Notes

First FAA-Approved Drone Delivery Made in U.S. Urban Area

Flirtey made the first legal urban drone delivery

March 25, 2016

The Flirtey drone lowers its emergency kit via rope, which marks the first FAA-approved drone delivery in a U.S. urban area.
Flirtey
Check-off another first on Flirtey's list as it seeks to be the first and premiere drone delivery company in the U.S.

On March 25, the Nevada-based UAS developer says it became the first in the U.S. to have its unmanned aircraft deliver goods autonomously and while flying over a populated, urban area.

The tests on March 10 in Hawthorne, NV, about 130 miles south-southwest of Reno, used a six-rotor drone to delivered water, food, and a first-aid kit.
The drone delivered the materials in windy conditions over a half-mile route navigating trees, houses, and power lines.

"Conducting the first drone delivery in an urban setting is a major achievement, taking us to the day that drones make regular deliveries to your front doorstep," says Matt Sweeny, Flirtey CEO. "Drone delivery by Flirtey is set to save lives and change lifestyles."

Flirtey and Sweeny last made headlines in July 2015, when they participated in the first FAA-approved UAV deliveries in the U.S. That event saw a remotely-piloted NASA SR-22 airplane deliver 30 prescription medications to an airfield near Wise, VA., and then to a rural health fair by a Flirtey F3 hexacopter.

Sweeny says the latest UAV is a much more advanced prototype with a carbon fiber-aluminum airframe and custom 3D-printed parts. Flirtey is also using encrypted communications, further securing the drone from unwanted interference.

Both the 2015 flight and this week's delivery included back-up control crews and line-of-sight observers — they did not have to intervene on either occasion.

"This was by far one of the most successful UAS operations we ran and represents an advanced level of test and development of UAS technology, flight planning, innovation, and mission execution by Flirtey," says Chris Walach, the Nevada UAS test site operations director. "The Flirtey team excelled in all aspects of safe flight operations in the National Airspace System."

Watch the 2015 Flirtey flight here.
Featured image: Flirtey